Marines expected to face criminal charges in Afghanistan civilian shootings

[JURIST] The US Marine Corps [official website] has been told to expect charges to be filed against five to seven Marines who are being investigated for killing ten civilians [JURIST report] near Jalalabad, Afghanistan on March 4, according to a Marine official speaking on the condition of anonymity. A preliminary US military investigation found that the Marines were among of group of 30 soldiers who opened fire against civilians after a suicide bomber drove a vehicle carrying explosives into their convoy. No soldiers were hurt in the attack, but the Marines began firing at bystanders, including women and elderly men, along a several mile stretch of road as they left the scene. The investigation, ordered by US Army Maj. Gen. Frank Kearney [profile], found no evidence that the Marines were facing enemy fire and revealed ten deaths and 33 injuries as a result of the shootings.

The soldiers are members of a Marine Corps Special Forces unit under the command of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) [official website] and were sent to Afghanistan to carry out special reconnaissance, intelligence and commando missions. An Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) [official website] released a report [PDF text] earlier this month claiming the soldiers violated international humanitarian law [JURIST report] by using indiscriminate and excessive force in its response to the suicide bombing. A formal investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) [official website] is being conducted which will determine who will be charged in the civilian attacks. Friday's New York Times has more.



 

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