A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

US Marines will not be charged in 2007 Afghan civilian shooting

[JURIST] A Marine Corps General Friday declined to press charges against two US Marines involved in a March 2007 incident [CENTCOM press release] in which 30 US Marines opened fire on civilians alongside a road in Nangahar province, Afghanistan, after a suicide bomber drove a vehicle carrying explosives into their convoy. Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland made the decision after hearing the recommendation of a court of inquiry proceeding [Marine Corps News report], the first convened in 50 years, about whether charges should be brought against platoon leader Capt. Vincent J. Noble and Maj. Fred C. Galvin, who commanded the 120-person unit at the time of the incident. A Marines spokesperson said that the two Marines and a third man will still face administrative action.

A preliminary US military investigation [JURIST report] found that the Marines began firing at bystanders, including women and elderly men, along a several mile stretch of road as they left the scene. As many as 19 civilians were killed and another 50 injured. The soldiers are members of a Marine Corps Special Forces unit under the command of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) [official website] and were sent to Afghanistan to carry out special reconnaissance, intelligence and commando missions. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) [official website] released a report [PDF text] last year claiming the soldiers violated international humanitarian law [JURIST report] by using indiscriminate and excessive force in its response to the suicide bombing. AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.