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US Military Disciplines Three Marine Officers in 2005 Iraqi Civilian Killings

06 September 2007

The U.S. military says it has censured three Marine officers for failing to properly investigate the 2005 killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha.

The Marine Corps said in a statement Wednesday that the secretary of the U.S. Navy issued letters of censure to a former commanding general, Major General Richard Huck, and two colonels, Stephen Davis and Robert Sokoloski, for their responses to the killings.

The statement said a review of the officers' conduct did not reveal any evidence that they intended to cover up the incident. But it did determine that their "actions, or inactions, demonstrated lack of due diligence."

It was not immediately clear what affect the censures would have, but they could mean the officers are unlikely to be promoted.

Four other enlisted Marines have been charged with murder in the November 19, 2005 incident. The killings occurred after a fellow Marine was killed by a roadside bomb.

On Friday, a U.S. Marine testified he witnessed another Marine kill five unarmed Iraqi men in the town of Haditha in 2005.

Sergeant Sanick Dela Cruz said Friday at a military hearing in California he saw Sergeant Frank Wuterich shoot the Iraqis.

The military hearing will determine if Wuterich will be court-martialed. Dela Cruz had also been charged in the case, but prosecutors dropped the charges in exchange for his testimony.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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