Lawyers In Haditha Case Say Gunshots, Not Grenades, Killed Many Victims

Lawyers In Haditha Case Say Gunshots, Not Grenades, Killed Many Victims
June 1st, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Lawyers In Haditha Case Say Gunshots, Not Grenades, Killed Many Victims

Lawyers In Haditha Case Say Gunshots, Not Grenades, Killed Many Victims
New York Times
June 1, 2007 By Paul von Zielbauer
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., May 31 — Many of the 24 Iraqi civilians killed by Marine infantrymen in Haditha in 2005 died from close-range gunshot wounds, a military prosecutor said Thursday.
At least five Iraqis, two women and three men, were shot in the head.
Until now, the prosecutors and the lawyers representing marines accused of murder in the Haditha case have said the civilian deaths resulted largely from hand grenades that infantrymen tossed into three homes to kill or wound enemy fighters within.
Marines were previously known to have followed the grenade blasts with some gunfire. But Thursday was the first time government lawyers had discussed how many of the victims appeared to have been targeted with seemingly well-placed gunshot blasts.
The account offered at a military hearing here on Thursday by Lt. Col. Paul Atterbury, a Marine prosecutor, reflects findings from a military investigation that has not been made public.
The report describes how marines responded to a deadly roadside bomb blast that killed one of their comrades on Nov. 19, 2005, by attacking three Iraqi homes and the occupants of a nearby car, killing two dozen people, including at least 10 women and children.
The hearing is being conducted to decide whether the military should proceed to a court-martial for Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, a former Marine battalion commander charged with failing to investigate and report the killings.
Referring to photographs of the bodies taken later by Marine intelligence officers, Colonel Atterbury said that in one house two Iraqi men had been shot through the head with 5.56-millimeter rounds of the kind used by American forces. In another corner, a woman in her 20s slumped in a “cowering position” was shot in the back of the neck, he said. Nearby lay a young boy, also shot dead.
In a second home, photographs showed two women, three girls and a young boy lying on a bed, dead from gunshot wounds, some from shots to the head, Colonel Atterbury said.
“It seems the occupants of the room were essentially seeking some kind of comfort on the bed,” he said.
Another witness on Thursday, William Hays Parks, a senior Defense Department lawyer who wrote the first official manual on investigating law-of-war violations, said the marines in Iraq should have further investigated the killings of that many women and children.
“The substantial number of head shots suggests to me that you had a nonresisting force,” he said.

Similar Topics
Lawyers On Haditha Panel Peer Into Fog Of War
Many Detainees At Guantanamo Rebuff Lawyers
U.S. Asks Court To Limit Lawyers At Guantanamo
Marine Officer Receives Immunity In Haditha Killings Case
Haditha Case Likely To Have Repercussions