The Italians investigate the murder of Nicola Calipari at the hands of U.S. soldiers.
Italian officials said Rome prosecutors were looking for evidence of homicide in the case of Nicola Calipari, who was transporting a rescued Italian hostage to the Baghdad airport when U.S. soldiers opened fire on their car. The bullet-scarred Toyota Corolla was brought to Rome on Tuesday.
The prosecutors have demanded the names of the soldiers who were involved, but the Pentagon has denied the request, Italian officials said.
The Italian move follows the release this week of partial findings from the joint American-Italian investigation. The Americans concluded that their soldiers were not at fault and had observed the proper rules of engagement for firing at a suspicious vehicle, according to unnamed Pentagon officials. Two Italian investigators who took part in the probe have so far refused to sign on to the findings.
The first findings from Italian investigators on Wednesday absolved Calipari of any “errors,” an Italian official said.
Italian investigators who are examining the car are trying to ascertain how many bullets struck it and from which direction. “The important thing is not what Calipari did but what the people who shot him did,” the official said.
Berlusconi had asked the United States for an admission of error but did not receive one. U.S. officials have contended from the beginning that, at most, the shooting was a tragic accident.
“It looks as if the love affair is over between Bush and Berlusconi,” an Italian Foreign Ministry official said. “Berlusconi needed help, and the administration did not supply it. The Americans were not going to sacrifice the morale of their soldiers for Berlusconi.” Shortly after the shooting, Berlusconi announced that he would begin to withdraw Italy’s troops from Iraq in September.