US Marines in urination video questioned: Official

AFP , Friday 13 Jan 2012

Two US soldiers seen in online video urinating on dead Afghan fighters have been questioned by military authorities, says US official


Two of the four US Marines seen in an online video urinating on the corpses of fighters in Afghanistan have been questioned by investigators, an American military official said Friday.

"They've been questioned" by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, but are "not in custody," the official told AFP.

The official confirmed that the Marines shown in the graphic footage are from a sniper unit in the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, and that the two men questioned were both on active duty.

"Hopefully, today we'll have identified the other two" once they are located, apparently after having been transferred from Camp Lejeune, said the official, who asked not to be named so as not to interfere with the ongoing probe.

The 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines was deployed in south-western Afghanistan's Helmand province from March to September last year, and the video was "potentially" shot during that period, the official said.

The online video showed four US soldiers urinating on three bloodied corpses, and one of the men, apparently aware he was being filmed, saying: "Have a great day, buddy," referring to one of the dead.

The footage has angered Afghan President Hamid Karzai and embarrassed the Pentagon, with US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the acts as deplorable and vowing that the culprits would be found and punished.

The soldiers in the video could face a court-martial for violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions, which stipulate that the remains of enemy fighters be treated with dignity.

Investigators will also seek to identify and question others who might have been involved with the graphic acts, including the person who filmed the scene, who was most likely a fellow service member, another US military official said.

He said military authorities would also seek to question the managers of the units involved, adding that if command flaws were found to have encouraged the improper behaviour by the soldiers, then those commanders would be punished.

Short link: