Marines Charged in Desecration Incident Face Trial
From a Marine Corps Combat Development Command News Release
QUANTICO, Va., Sep. 24, 2012 Charges against two Marines were referred to trial by courts-martial Sept. 21 for their alleged involvement in urinating on deceased Taliban fighters and for posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties in Afghanistan.
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development command, referred the charges.
The incident allegedly took place during a counterinsurgency operation near Sandala in the Musa Qala district of Afghanistan’s Helmand province on or about July 27, 2011. The charges were referred to courts-martial by Lieutenant General Richard P. Mills, the Commanding General of Marine Corps Combat Development Command.
Marine Corps Staff Sgts. Joseph W. Chamblin and Edward W. Deptola also were charged for other misconduct that allegedly took place during the same operation, including being derelict in their duties by failing to properly supervise junior Marines, failing to require junior Marines to wear their personal protective equipment, failing to stop and report the misconduct of junior Marines, failing to report the negligent discharge of a grenade launcher, and failing to stop the indiscriminate firing of weapons.
Deptola also is charged with failing to stop the unnecessary damaging of Afghan compounds and wrongfully and indiscriminately firing a recovered enemy machine gun.
Both Marines are assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Last month, three Marines received nonjudicial punishment for misconduct that came to light during several investigations into the desecration incident, shown in a video that became public and circulated widely on the Internet in January. Disciplinary actions regarding other Marines will be announced at a later date, officials said.
The charges are accusations against the individual Marines, officials emphasized, and the accused are presumed innocent and are guaranteed the right to due process under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“There are other pending cases related to this incident. In order to preserve the integrity of the investigations and to ensure fair and impartial legal proceedings in the future, we will not discuss evidence or specific findings of the investigations,” the command said in a written statement. “We will be as forthright as possible while preserving the rights of the accused and the fairness and integrity of the military justice process.”