Censure for Haditha slayings

Three senior US officers issued disciplinary letters over 24 Iraqi civilian deaths.

    The Haditha slayings led to the biggest US criminal case involving civilian deaths in the Iraq war
    The Marine Corps said Major-General Richard Huck, who commanded the 2nd Marine Division, was censured for the "actions he took and failed to take" in response to the killings.
    Colonel Stephen Davis was censured for failure to take action when informed of the killings while Colonel Robert Sokoloski was cited for unsatisfactory performance of his duties.
    Lieutenant-General James Mattis, who reviewed their performance, "did not find any evidence that these senior officers intended to cover up the incident," the marines said in a statement.
    "He did determine that their actions, or inactions, demonstrated lack of due diligence on the part of senior commanders and staff."
    Former commander of the II Marine Expeditionary Force, Major-General Stephen Johnson, was exonerated.
    In November 2005, 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha including women and children were killed by a marine squad following a bomb attack which killed one soldier.
    General James Conway, the Marine Corps commandant, said the "actions, inactions and decisions" of the three officers after the incident "did not meet the high standards we expect of marine senior officer leadership".
    Wuterich's case

    Wuterich is accused of unpremeditated
    murder in the Haditha slayings [Reuters]

    The preliminary hearing in Wuterich's case is expected to conclude on Thursday before a final decision is made on whether he should be court-martialled, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Ware, the investigating officer overseeing the Haditha case, said.
    Four enlisted marines were charged with murder and four officers were charged with dereliction of duty for failing to investigate the deaths in the case.
    Charges have so far been dropped against three of the men.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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