[JURIST] Former US Army soldier Steven Green pleaded not guilty Thursday in US District Court to rape and murder charges [JURIST report; criminal complaint via FindLaw] in connection with the death of an Iraqi woman and three of her relatives in Mahmudiya [JURIST news archive] in March. Green also agreed that his case would be prosecuted in the federal Western District of Kentucky [official website] after waiving both a detention hearing and a preliminary hearing. The criminal complaint alleges that Green, who was honorably discharged from the Army because of a personality disorder before the allegations arose, was the ringleader of four other soldiers who took part in the violence while a fifth soldier remained in a humvee to stand guard. The complaint also alleges that the soldiers had been drinking alcohol beforehand and had changed into civilian clothes, indicating that the alleged acts were not spontaneous. The other four suspects have been confined to a US base in Iraq, but their names have not been released. Green was arrested in North Carolina last week and was transported Thursday to Louisville. Green served in the 101st Airborne Division, which is based at nearby Fort Campbell. An arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 8.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] on Wednesday called for an independent Iraqi inquiry into the allegations. Al-Maliki said during a visit to Kuwait that he believes "immunity granted to international forces has emboldened them to commit such crimes" and called for a review of the UN Security Council [official website] mandate that grants coalition forces immunity from Iraqi law. Iraqi Justice Minister Hashim Abdul-Rahman al-Shebli has also demanded international supervision of the US probe [JURIST report]. AP has more. The Louisville Courier-Journal has local coverage.