Iraq's government says it has executed two close aides of former president Saddam Hussein and that the head of one of the men was severed during the hanging.
An Iraqi spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh said Saddam's half brother, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, and the former highest ranking official of Iraq's Revolutionary Court, Awad Hamed al-Bandar, were hanged before dawn on Monday.
An official video of the hanging shows Barzan being beheaded by the noose.
The two men were condemned to death for their roles in the killing of 148 Iraqi Shi'ites in the village of Dujail in 1982.
Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi criticized his government for going ahead with the executions. Hashimi, a Sunni Muslim, told a British television network, Sky News, that the hangings undermine Iraqi reconciliation efforts.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the executions were an Iraqi process.
Speaking to reporters in the Egyptian town of Luxor, she also said the execution in December of Saddam Hussein should have been handled with greater dignity.
On an unauthorized video of Saddam's execution, witnesses were heard taunting the former leader minutes before he was hanged.
The president of the European Commission -- Jose Manuel Barroso -- condemned today's executions, saying no one has the right to take the life of another.
Russia's Interfax news agency quoted the country's Foreign Ministry as saying the latest executions will not contribute to stability in Iraq.
Saddam was hanged on December 30th for the Dujail killings, in a chaotic scene that has drawn international criticism.