Friday, January 13, 2012

Marines in 'Urinating' Video Identified, Charges Possible

All four US Marines seen in the video depicting them urinating on dead Taliban have been identified and the videographer is also being sought in connection with multiple charges.
Two of the Marines have been interviewed by military officials involved in a criminal investigation into the video, which surfaced online Wednesday, the official said. At less than a minute long, the video appears to show four men in uniform looking around before urinating on three dead bodies. At least one of the men chuckles as they do so.

"Have a great day, buddy," one of the men is heard saying, apparently to a dead body.

If authentic, the video portrays potential violations of both the first Geneva Convention, which calls for the dead to be "honorably interred" and says that "graves are respected," as well as the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice for allegedly bringing "discredit upon the armed forces."

Eugene Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale University, said the Marines will most likely be charged under an interpretation of the Uniform Code for Military Justice and any prison sentences would depend on instructions a military judge will give a jury of military officers who then determine the sentence.

On one of the first websites to feature the video, the member who posted it identified the Marines as belonging to the 3/2 Marine battalion out of Camp Lejeune, an assertion later confirmed by the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). The battalion served in the northern Helmand Province in Afghanistan last summer. The USMC declined to identify the individual Marines in the video.
These Marines would likely see charges under the UCMJ catchall provision and the conduct unbecoming a member of the Armed Forces. Either can result in a bad-conduct/dishonorable discharge, although prison time is also a possibility.

At a minimum, expect to see these four given a bad-conduct discharge.

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