Mohammed Azzam al-Ali was put on trial before the Iraqi Special Tribunal.
He was accused, together with seven other former officials (former president Saddam Hussein, Taha Yassin Ramadan, Barzan Ibrahim Al-Tikriti, Awad Hamed Al-Bandar, Abdullah Kadem Rouaid, Ali Daeem Ali, Mezhar Abdullah Rouaid), of taking part in the killing of 140 Shiite inhabitants of the village of Dujail, 60 km north of Baghdad, in July 1982. The main count with which he was charged was that of crimes against humanity according to article 12 of the statute of the Iraqi Special Tribunal, approved on 10 December 2003.
Trial proceedings started on 19 October 2005. From the very first day, Mohammed Azzam al-Ali pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he was liable to face the death penalty.
At the request of the defence lawyers, the trial was adjourned until 28 November 2005 to allow more time for the preparation of the defence.
In the weeks following the first audience, serious security concerns for the defence team of Hussein and the other accused became apparent. Some 36 hours after the first hearing, a group of unidentified armed men dragged one of the attorneys from his office in east Baghdad and shot him dead. A few days later, a second lawyer was killed in a drive-by shooting, and a third, injured in that attack, subsequently fled Iraq for sanctuary in Qatar.
As a consequence, calls for the trial to be held abroad were heard. The defence lawyers, supported by the Iraqi Bar Association, imposed a boycott on the trial, until their security concerns were met with specific measures.
A few days before the trial was set to resume, the defence team announced that it had accepted offers of protection from Iraqi and American officials and would appear in Court on 28 November. The agreement was said to include the same level of protection that was offered to the Iraqi judges and Prosecutors, with measures such as armoured cars and teams of bodyguards.
After a short Court session on 28 November 2005, during which some testimony regarding the killings in Dujail was presented, Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin ordered a one-week adjournment until 5 December, to grant the defence teams time to find new counsel after one of their lawyers had been killed and another had fled Iraq.
On 12 March 2006, the Prosecutor announced that if Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants were sentenced to death in the Dujail case, the sentence would be carried out as soon as possible. Thus, the other cases for which they were indicted would not be heard in court.
On 19 June 2006, the Prosecutor indeed asked the court, in his closing arguments, that the death penalty be imposed upon three of the defendants, Taha Yassine Ramadan, Saddam Hussein and Barzan al-Tikriti.
The trial was adjourned after the closing arguments of the defence on26 July 2006.
On 5 November 2006, Mohammed Azzam al-Ali was acquitted.