Photos of War Causalities Violate International Law, Vatican Newspaper Says

Comments on Publication of Pictures of Saddam Hussein's Sons

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano reminds readers that, according to international law, the publication of photos of war casualties, no matter who they are, is prohibited.



This Saturday's edition of L'Osservatore Romano opens with a lead article entitled "Once Again the Tragic Face of War."

"Without taking into consideration what is prescribed by international law in relation to the vanquished, the photos have been published of the disfigured bodies of Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, killed on Tuesday in Mosul during an attack carried out by the U.S. military," the article explains.

L'Osservatore Romano severely criticized the March 25 Iraqi television transmission of U.S. prisoners of war, considering it an offense against "the dignity of man."

The Vatican newspaper also publishes the justification given by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who said on Thursday: "I feel it was the right decision and I'm glad I made it."

The Pentagon historically has refused to release pictures of either American or enemy war dead, but the secretary said he personally gave the order.

"It is not a practice that the United States engages in on a normal basis," he said, but "I honestly believe that these two are particularly bad characters, and that it's important for the Iraqi people to see them, to know they're gone, to know they're dead, and to know they're not coming back."