JURIST Sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh
PAPER CHASE NEWSBURSTDigest RSS feedFull RSS feed
Serious law. Primary sources. Global perspective.


Friday, November 11, 2011

US Army soldier convicted of murdering Afghanistan civilians
Brandon Gatto at 11:00 AM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] A US military court on Thursday convicted an army squad commander of three counts of premeditated murder for leading a "kill team" in Afghanistan that targeted unarmed civilians and collected body parts as war trophies. While three of the four defendants pleaded guilty and received reduced sentences, Sgt. Calvin Gibbs [NYT profile], 26, was given a life sentence for 15 convictions including murder, assault and conspiracy connected to the killing of three men not long after he took over the Fifth Brigade of the US Army [official website] Second Division in Afghanistan's Kandahar province in November 2009. Gibbs admitted to cutting and keeping fingers from the corpses as trophies, but claimed that he was merely returning enemy fire and was not motivated to kill. Prosecutors, however, relied on Gibbs' own likening of collecting amputated body parts to the antlers of a deer to characterize the platoon leader as a hunter who killed Afghans "for sport." Two co-defendants testified against their former leader, and told the court that Gibbs not only collected fingers and teeth from those he called "savages," but that he also took pictures next to the victims before leaving weapons around their bodies. While Gibbs has been given a life sentence, the court also granted the possibility of parole after less than 10 years.

Although the "kill team" incident has been considered one of the worst examples of American war crimes since the start of the Afghanistan campaign, other crimes have been alleged. In September 2010, former UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston [JURIST news archive] called for an investigation [JURIST report] into the conduct by both Taliban and US and British military forces, and expressed particular concern over the number of civilian deaths during the war in Afghanistan. At the time, Alston made specific reference to the alleged killings revealed [JURIST report] in secret military files published by WikiLeaks [website]. The latter has been described as the largest unauthorized release of classified documents in US military history allegedly littered with US war crime evidence.




Link |  | print | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | Facebook page

For more legal news check the Paper Chase Archive...


LATEST LEGAL NEWS

 UK to introduce laws to eradicate female genital mutilation
9:43 AM ET, July 23

 Recruitment of child soldiers persists in DRC: UN report
8:37 AM ET, July 23

 Kuwait top court upholds 10-year sentence for Twitter user
7:09 AM ET, July 23

 click for more...

Get JURIST legal news delivered daily to your e-mail!

LATEST FORUM

Unprecedented Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping in a Closed Case
DOMESTIC
Ramzi Kassem
CUNY School of Law

ABOUT

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, ad-free format.

CONTACT

Paper Chase welcomes comments, tips and URLs from readers. E-mail us at JURIST@jurist.org