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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Italy court dismisses murder case against US soldier accused in Iraq shooting
Joshua Pantesco at 12:20 PM ET

[JURIST] An Italian trial court on Thursday dismissed a criminal case against a US soldier accused of murdering an Italian intelligence agent in Iraq, citing a lack of jurisdiction over the matter. Italian authorities had charged US Army Spc. Mario Lozano [defense website; Wikipedia profile] with the 2005 murder of Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and the attempted murders of agent Andrea Carpani and Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena [Wikipedia profile], but Lozano's lawyers argued in July that the Italian court lacked jurisdiction, as members of multinational forces in Iraq were under sole jurisdiction of their home country. The court delayed the case until September to allow prosecutors time to develop a rebuttal.

The Italian agents and journalist were shot at while entering a US checkpoint [JURIST report] on the way to the Baghdad airport after the agents secured the release of Sgrena from Iraqi kidnappers. Although Italy has not officially asked for Lozano's extradition, the US has made it clear that any such request would be rejected. Lozano has denied all charges against him [JURIST report], maintaining that he fired upon the Italian vehicle in self-defense after numerous attempts to signal the vehicle to stop when entering his checkpoint failed. US and Italian officials have failed to agree [JURIST report] on details surrounding Calipari's death. A US investigation [JURIST report] into the incident cleared US soldiers of any wrongdoing but an initial Italian probe [JURIST report], while also concluding that the killing was accidental, found that there were serious miscommunications among US officials in Iraq, and confusion about the rules of engagement for checkpoints. BBC News has more. ANSA has local coverage, in Italian.






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