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Italy: Iraq Murder Case Against U.S. Soldier Dismissed

(Nov. 2, 2007) On October 25, 2007, an Italian trial court dismissed a criminal case against U.S. Army Specialist Mario Lozano, who was charged with the murder in Iraq of Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari and the attempted murder of agent Andrea Carpani and Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena. The court cited lack of jurisdiction over the case. Lozano's lawyers had made that argument in July, pointing out that members of multinational forces in Iraq were under the home country's sole jurisdiction, but the court reportedly delayed handling the case until September to give prosecutors time for a rebuttal.

Calipari, Carpani, and Sgrena were shot at while proceeding to the Baghdad airport after the agents had secured Sgrena's from Iraqi kidnappers. Lozano, who has denied all the charges against him, contends that he fired on the Italians' vehicle in self-defense when it failed to stop at the checkpoint he was manning despite numerous attempts to signal it to do so. He has denied all the charges against him. There is lack of agreement between U.S. and Italian officials regarding the details of Calipari's death. Although a U.S. investigation cleared U.S. soldiers of wrongdoing, an initial Italian inquiry into the matter concluded that the killing was accidental but "found that there were serious miscommunications among US officials in Iraq, and confusion about the rules of engagement for checkpoints." (Joshua Pantesco, Italy Court Dismisses Murder Case Against US Soldier Accused in Iraq Shooting, JURIST, Oct. 25, 2007, available at http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2007/10/italy-court-dismisses-murder-case.php.)