One of Saddam Hussein’s most well-known and loyal lieutenants accused Iraq’s Shiite-led government Tuesday of seeking revenge, as he and seven other former regime officials faced trial for the 1992 executions of dozens of Baghdad merchants.

Tariq Aziz told an Iraqi court, which resumed hearing the case against him and his co-defendants, that he was proud of being a member of Saddam’s Sunni-dominated Baath party and serving under the former dictator.