Amnesty International is questioning the fairness of an Iraqi court's trial of Saddam Hussein.

Officials of the London-based human rights group said Sunday the court proceedings were "marred by serious flaws," and were "not impartial."

Amnesty International also condemned the death sentences given to the ousted Iraqi president and two of his former senior aides after they were found guilty of crimes against humanity. 

The organization opposes capital punishment.

Meanwhile, Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, addressed the nation on television afterwards, saying the court verdict was aimed not only at Saddam, but also at the entire "dark" period of his rule.

Mr. Maliki says Saddam's eventual execution may provide comfort to the families of the many thousands of people killed by his regime.

Today's death sentence immediately triggered an automatic appeal process, expected to last about four weeks.

The court also delivered judgments against seven former Saddam aides charged in connection with the Dujail killings.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.