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Haditha: A Case Study in Response to War Crimes

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Chapter Summary

In November 2005, United States (US) Marines were allegedly involved in the deaths of Iraqi civilians in Haditha, Iraq. Marines involved in the incident, members of the chain of command, and a serving Judge Advocate were later charged with criminal offenses under the US Military's Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The author presents lessons learned for Judge Advocates and other practitioners that advise commanders on the Law of Armed Conflict. This analysis includes a quick summary of generally undisputed facts and the known record of the UCMJ cases that followed the Haditha incident followed by a comparison and contraposition of two other, less well known, allegations of war crimes committed by US Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan thereby serving to illustrate some of the factors which should be considered when determining the handling and disposition of such incidents.

Keywords: Afghanistan; Haditha; law of armed conflict; Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ); United States (US) Marines; war crimes



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