An Iraqi tribunal court Sunday sentenced the former dictator to death by hanging for ordering the executions of 148 people in Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt against him.
"A former dictator feared by millions, who killed his own citizens ... has been brought to trial in his own country," Khalilzad said in a statement. "Although the Iraqis may face difficult days in the coming weeks, closing the book on Saddam and his regime is an opportunity to unite and build a better future."
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the verdict represented a decision on a "whole dark era" unparalleled in the country's history.
Sajjad Abdul Hussein Ali, a Shiite living in Kirkuk who had three brothers executed by Hussein, said the verdict was a "triumph" for families terrorized by the former dictator.