Huffpost Religion

Soldiers Who Urinated On Corpses, Burned Qurans Will Not Be Criminally Prosecuted

Posted: Updated:
In this Feb. 24, 2012 file photo, Afghans shout anti-American slogans during an anti-U.S. protest in Ghani Khail, east of Kabul, Afghanistan over the burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base. Two U.S. troops were gunned down by an Afghan soldier and his accomplice Thursday, March 1, 2012, the latest of six American service members killed by their Afghan partners since the burning of Muslim holy books last week sent anti-Americanism soaring in a nation that has long distrusted foreigners. (AP Ph
In this Feb. 24, 2012 file photo, Afghans shout anti-American slogans during an anti-U.S. protest in Ghani Khail, east of Kabul, Afghanistan over the burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base. Two U.S. troops were gunned down by an Afghan soldier and his accomplice Thursday, March 1, 2012, the latest of six American service members killed by their Afghan partners since the burning of Muslim holy books last week sent anti-Americanism soaring in a nation that has long distrusted foreigners. (AP Ph

(Reuters) - The U.S. military said on Monday it was disciplining U.S. troops over two incidents that provoked outrage in Afghanistan early this year, one involving a video depicting Marines urinating on corpses and another over burned copies of the Koran.

But the administrative punishments fell short of criminal prosecution and it was unclear whether they would satisfy Afghan demands for justice.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai branded the Marine's actions in the video as "inhuman," and he initially called for a public trial for the soldiers over the Koran incident.

The military did not disclose precise punishments for the troops but Army and Marine Corps spokesmen said they fell into a category that includes administrative sanctions, like a reduction in rank or forfeiture of pay.

The Marine Corps announced three Marines had pleaded guilty to charges over the video, which was widely seen on the Internet in January and showed Marines urinating on the corpses of what the Marine Corps said were dead Taliban fighters. One can be heard saying, "Have a nice day, buddy."

The identities of the three Marines were not disclosed and disciplinary actions against additional Marines would be announced at a later date, the Marine Corps said. It said its investigation showed the incident actually took place on or around July 27, 2011, during a counter-insurgency operation in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Also on Monday, the Army announced that six soldiers received administrative punishments over an incident in which copies of the Koran and other religious material were removed from a prison library and sent to an incinerator to be destroyed. Four of the individuals involved were officers and two of them were non-commissioned officers, a spokesman said.

The incident in February touched off several days of rioting and attacks on U.S. troops after local workers found charred copies of the Koran among the trash at the incinerator at the Bagram base north of Kabul.

At least 30 people died in the violence that spread across the country after the incident. Shortly after, two American officers were shot dead in a secure area of the Afghan interior ministry, a crime that remains unsolved.

U.S. officials at the time said some of the religious material had been removed from the prison library at Bagram because of concern that it was extremist in nature and was being used to pass messages among prisoners. Details of the investigation were expected to be released later on Monday.

Reaction to the incident prompted President Barack Obama to write to Afghan President Hamid Karzai to apologize.

(Editing by Jackie Frank)

Around the Web

Criminal Resource Manual 669 Prosecution of Military Personnel

Analysis: Should child soldiers be prosecuted for their crimes? - IRIN

Prosecuting International Crimes Against Children - UNICEF IRC

No criminal charges for US soldiers in Qur'an burning, Marines in urination video

Criminal charges dismissed against soldier in Afghanistan shooting