Saturday, April 14, 2007

Afghan Massacre "Violated Humanitarian Law"

By Cernig

I posted back at the beginning of March about allegations of a massacre in Afghanistan to rival the infamous Haditha atrocity in Iraq. It was alledged that US Marines went on the rampage, killing dozens apparently innocent civilian bystanders. The incident was captured by freelance journalists working for AP, who were then forced to delete photos and video at the scene of violence by US troops.

At the time, a US military spokesman stated that "When untrained people take photographs or video, there is a very real risk that the images or videography will capture visual details that are not as they originally were."

Moreover, the entire company of Marines from which the troops involved were drawn was then moved to a secret location by the US military.

Today, via the BBC, comes news that not only did the US military's own initial investigation which concluded that the marines' response "was out of proportion to the threat that was immediately there", but an Afghan report has concluded that the troops involved violated international humanitarian law by using excessive violence.
The Afghan report said that, in failing to distinguish between civilian and legitimate military targets, the US marine corps used "indiscriminate force".

"Their actions thus constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law standards," it said.

The US said that the Nangarhar fighting, near the city of Jalalabad, started when a convoy of marines was attacked by a suicide bomber and came under co-ordinated small-arms fire.

But the Afghan report said that the evidence of a complex ambush involving militant gunmen who fired on the convoy was "far from conclusive".

According to the authors of the report, who spoke to victims, police and hospital officials as well as eyewitnesses, the marines fired indiscriminately on civilians and their vehicles as they left the scene.
Still no news on whether there will be any charges brought in relation to the incident.

No comments: