Soldiers Behaving Badly -- in Afghanistan and Haiti
September 25, 2012
The Guardian & BBC World News & Al Jazeera
Two US Marines have been referred for trial by courts martial for a video of five troops urinating on Taliban corpses in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, in Haiti, four United Nations Peacekeepers from Uganda have been charged with 'private violence' for alleged rape of Haitian man.
US Marines Recommended for Trial for Urination Video
BBC World News
(September 24, 2012) -- Two US Marines have been referred for trial by courts martial for a video of troops urinating on Taliban corpses in Afghanistan, the US military says.
Staff sergeants Joseph Chamblin and Edward Deptola are also charged with failure to report or stop misconduct by junior Marines, including random firing of weapons.
Three other Marines were disciplined in August for their role in the clip. It surfaced online in January this year.
In addition, the two non-commissioned officers, who are assigned to the Third Battalion, Second Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, are alleged to have posed for photographs with human casualties.
The incidents are believed to have taken place during a counter-insurgency operation in Afghanistan's Helmand Province on or around 27 July 2011, the Marine Corps said.
The two Marines are also facing charges for other alleged misconduct on the same operation.
They are accused of being derelict in their duties by not supervising junior Marines, failing to ensure they were wearing personal protective gear and failing to report the negligent discharge of a grenade launcher.
The three other servicemen who were disciplined in August pleaded guilty: one to "urinating on the body of a deceased Taliban soldier", another to posing for a photo with human casualties, and a third for lying to investigators.
In the video, someone can be heard saying: "Have a good day, buddy."
Their identities have not been revealed and the Marine Corps said it would provide details of disciplinary actions against them at a later date.
The footage surfaced at a sensitive time for US-Afghan relations, as American officials attempted to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
One month later, violent protests broke out in Afghanistan after it emerged US troops had incinerated a number of Korans.
The holy books had been confiscated from prisoners, amid claims they were being used to pass secret messages.The ensuing unrest claimed 30 lives and saw two US troops shot dead.
BBC © 2012
US Marines Charged over Urinating on Bodies of Dead Taliban in Afghanistan
Adam Gabbatt / The Guardian
LONDON (September 24, 2012) -- Two US marines are facing criminal charges for urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, after their actions were caught on a video that circulated widely on the internet, the US military said on Monday.
Staff sergeants Joseph W Chamblin and Edward W Deptola will face courts martial, the first criminal charges faced by anyone over the incident. The video prompted widespread anger in Afghanistan earlier this year; the Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the marines' actions "inhuman".
Chamblin and Deptola, were also charged with "posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties", and will face charges over failing to report or stop misconduct by junior marines, the military said. Three marines have already been disciplined over the urination incident.
Although the video was circulated on the web in January 2012, the incident actually took place on or around July 27, 2011, during a counter-insurgency operation in Afghanistan's Helmand province, an internal investigation showed.
The video showed four men in army combat gear urinating on the bodies of three men lying on the ground. The voice of a fifth man can be heard from behind the camera.
The military said on 27 August that three marines had pleaded guilty to charges over the video, but their punishment fell short of criminal prosecution and the men did not face courts martial.
Two of the three pleaded guilty to wrongfully posing for an unofficial photograph with human casualties and admitted urinating on the body of a dead Taliban fighter. The third pleaded guilty to failing to report the mistreatment of human casualties by other marines, and admitted making a false statement to an investigative officer about his knowledge of the video, according to the Military Times.
The three men face punishments within the military, such as a reduction in rank or extra duties, meaning their names would not have to be published in public.
Chamblin and Deptola, however, also face a series of charges for failing to supervise junior marines.
This includes simple things like failing to require them to wear protective equipment to more serious breaches, like failing to report the "negligent discharge" of a grenade launcher. Deptola is also charged with failing to stop the unnecessary damaging of Afghan compounds, the marines said.
The marines said there were other pending cases in the video investigation. They declined to elaborate on the incident in which the negligent actions took place.
UN Peacekeepers Detained in Haiti Rape Case
(September 2012) -- Four Uruguayan sailors have been detained on charges stemming from an alleged rape of a Haitian man while they were serving in a UN peacekeeping force.
The Uruguayan justice department said on Monday that the men were charged with "private violence", defined under Uruguay's penal code as using "violence or threats to force someone to do, tolerate or allow something to be done" to them.
If convicted, they could be sentenced from three months to three years in prison.
The scandal erupted in September 2011 after cell phone video images circulated on the Internet purportedly showing the UN peacekeepers sexually assaulting an 18-year-old, Jhony Jean, in the southern Haitian town of Port-Salut. The charges brought against the four stop short of sexual assault, however.
Enrique Rodriguez, the prosecutor in the case, told the AFP news agency last month that the evidence did not support a finding of sexual assault, only of coercion. Lawyers for the Uruguayans are considering whether to appeal immediately.
One of the attorneys, Gustavo Bordes, claimed that the Haitian man lied and fabricated allegations to try to seek civil damages.
The case prompted protests outside the Uruguayan base at Port-Salut to demand the withdrawal of the UN forces.
Deployed since June 2004 under Brazilian leadership, the United Nations Mission for the Stabilisation of Haiti includes troops from 18 countries, but most are from Latin America.
After the January 2010 earthquake, the force grew from some 9,000 troops to 12,250 but UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said the time has come to begin a gradual drawdown.
The alleged victim, Jean, was questioned in Montevideo in May by Judge Alejandro Guido, responsible for a civil investigation launched in September 2011 at the request of the Uruguayan defense ministry.
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