Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

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IRAQ: Haditha law

February 21, 2008 | 10:27 am

As the court-martial approaches for Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, charged in the killings in Haditha in November 2005, prosecutors warned the judge in Camp Pendleton this week that testimony from fellow Marines would be contradictory and "begrudging," according to news reports.

But prosecutors will not be relying solely on testimony from Marines who were in Wuterich's squad the day 24 Iraqi civilians were killed after a a Marine lance corporal died in a roadside bombing.

A team of prosecutors and Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents is in Haditha this week to videotape depositions with witnesses to the shootings and also relatives of the dead Iraqis. Military defense attorneys will be present.

The team left from Al Asad in a heavily guarded convoy. Wuterich faces voluntary manslaughter and other charges. The videotaped depositions are meant to be used in his trial and those of another enlisted Marine and the battalion commander, prosecutors said.

— Tony Perry in Al Asad