Ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has pleaded not guilty to ordering the killing of more than 140 Shi'ite men in the town of al-Dujail after a failed attempt on Saddam's life in 1982.
The trial opened with Saddam refusing the judge's order to identify himself. Saddam declared himself Iraq's president and said he does not recognize the court.
Iraqi television broadcast footage of Saddam and seven other defendants sitting in a holding pen under tight security listening intently to the court proceedings. The seven former regime members also pleaded not guilty.
The judge advised the defendants that they face possible execution if convicted.
Saddam's lawyer is expected to seek an adjournment, arguing that he did not have enough time to prepare for the trial.
Senior Iraqi leaders joined diplomats, reporters and international human rights monitors in witnessing the proceedings at a specially built courtroom in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.