Military clears Marine of murder charges in deaths of Iraqi prisoners

[JURIST] A US military investigator has cleared a US Marine of murder charges in connection with the deaths of two Iraqi prisoners. 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano [defense website] stood accused of killing the two prisoners [JURIST report] execution-style on April 15, 2004; if convicted he could have faced the death penalty. Lt. Col. Mark Winn, presiding at Pantano's Article 32 hearing under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, accepted evidence that the prisoners did not have their backs turned when Pantano shot them repeatedly in the belief they were going to attack him. He nonetheless wrote that "Shooting 30 extra rounds of ammunition into two bodies to send a message (to the enemy) is not moral and just... Once we allow ourselves to traverse down that slope, we become no better than the insurgents we are fighting." In a report released Friday [PDF] Winn recommended that Pantano receive nonjudicial punishment for conduct unbecoming an officer, which could include house arrest and reduction in pay. The New York Daily News has more.

 

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