[JURIST] Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki [BBC profile] said Tuesday that the Iraqi government will launch its own probe into the allegations that US Marines killed two dozen Iraqi civilians and militants in the city of Haditha in November 2005. Reports that the killings were carried out by the Marines in retribution for a roadside bomb first appeared in TIME magazine [report] in March, prompting an investigation [JURIST report] by the Pentagon. Maliki said that the Iraqis' deaths would be the subject of inquiries and that we will hold those who did it responsible.
Last week, US Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) [official website], a former Marine who is now the senior Democrat on the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, said [ABC News video; JURIST report] that the killings had been committed in cold blood, that the initial military investigation into them had been stifled, that officers up the chain of command knew what happened and had covered it up, and that the incident could do even more damage to US efforts than the Abu Ghraib prison scandal [JURIST news archive]. US Marine Corps General Peter Pace [official profile], chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff [official website], has confirmed that two investigations were under way [JURIST report] -- one concerning the Iraqis' deaths and another to determine why senior officials remained unaware of the allegations until months later. Pace also promised that the results of the probes would be made public. BBC News has more.