An Iraqi appeals court has upheld the death sentence against ousted leader Saddam Hussein for the 1982 killings of 148 Shi'ite villagers.
The head of the court, Aref Shahin announced Tuesday that under Iraqi law, the death sentence is to be carried out within 30 days.
Last month, an Iraqi court sentenced Saddam to hang for the killings of Shi'ites from the town of Dujail after an attempt there to assassinate Saddam.
Many Shi'ites celebrated today's ruling, while members of Saddam's once dominant Sunni Arab minority deplored what they called a politically-motivated sentence.
A White House spokesman Scott Stanzel hailed the decision as "an important milestone" in Iraqi efforts to establish "the rule of law."
Saddam's defense team and international human rights groups criticized the trial as flawed.
The Iraqi appeals court also upheld the death sentences for Saddam's half-brother, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and a former judge, Awad al-Bandar in the Dujail killings.
The appellate judges asked the lower court to reconsider the life sentence for former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan. The appellate court said he should be executed too.
Saddam is also on trial on charges of genocide for the 1988 Anfal campaign in which prosecutors say 180-thousand Kurds were killed.
U.S. forces captured Saddam near his hometown of Tikrit in December 2003 -- eight months after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted him from power.