Tue, Mar 24, 2009 - Page 6 News List

US Army launches criminal complaint in Iraqi court

AP , BAGHDAD

The US Army has filed a criminal complaint in an Iraqi court against 12 people believed responsible for a May 2007 ambush that killed seven US soldiers, including three killed after they were captured, the US said on Sunday.

In an unusual announcement, the military said Lieutenant Colonel Richard Ruffcorn, director of intelligence for the 10th Mountain Division, appeared in court on March 11 to file the complaint, which is required under Iraqi law before charges can be brought.

“According to Iraqi law, someone must be present to file the complaint in person before suspects can be formally charged,” Ruffcorn, of Omaha, Nebraska, said in a statement.

“After all of our efforts to locate [the missing soldiers], I considered it an honor to stand on behalf of their families,” he said.

An al-Qaeda front group, the Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility for the ambush, which occurred in Youssifiyah south of Baghdad on May 12, 2007.

Three of the seven killed — Staff Sergeant Alex Jimenez of New York; Specialist Byron Fouty of Waterford, Michigan; and Corporal Joseph Anzack of Torrance, California, were reported captured by insurgents.

Anzack’s body was recovered from the Euphrates River 11 days later. Jimenez and Fouty remained missing for more than a year until their bodies were found and identified.

The 12 Iraqis alleged to have taken part in the attack are in custody. A trial date has not been set.

Others killed in the ambush were Sergeant First Class James Connell of Lake City, Tennessee; Specialist Daniel Courneya of Nashville, Michigan.; Corporal Christopher Murphy of Lynchburg, Virginia; and Sergeant Anthony Schober of Reno, Nevada.

Announcements of formal complaints in connection with specific fatal attacks against US troops are unusual and reflect the military’s outrage over the killings.

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