Saddam Hussein's half brother and a former Iraqi judge were executed today, for their role in the 1982 killing of 148 Shiite Muslims in the village of Dujail.
Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Iraq's intelligence chief at the time of the killings, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, who issued death sentences to Dujail residents as the former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court, were hanged today for crimes against humanity.
Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi opposed the executions, he said:
"The president already made an appeal and I had strong reservations. It is unfortunate."
Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani, had already stated his opposition to the death penalty.
The new administration in Iraq tends not to listen, when it comes to appeals for clemency for Sunnis.
The execution took place in the presence of a prosecutor, a doctor and a judge. In an attempt not to botch these executions, in the same way that Saddam's was botched, the authorities made all witnesses and executors sign a document outlining rules of conduct for the event.
However, despite this, Barzan al-Tikriti was decapitated during the hanging. A spokesman said the decapitation of Barzan was not abnormal, although it was rare, and described it as "an act of God".