updated 4/29/2009 3:23:15 PM ET 2009-04-29T19:23:15

A military appeals court has refused to reinstate war-crime charges against a Marine in connection with the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians.

The nine-member appellate court rejected the Marine Corps' appeal Tuesday night, just as a three-member panel did in March.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani of Rangely, Colo., was charged with dereliction of duty for failing to investigate the 2005 killings of men, women and children by Marines in Haditha, Iraq.

A judge at Camp Pendleton in California dismissed the charges last year, saying the case was tainted by improper contact between a general overseeing the case and an investigator.

Charges also have been dismissed against five other Marines. Another was acquitted and one has a pending court-martial.

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