Islam Times: Even though Leon Panetta says the death penalty is possible if a US military court finds an Army staff sergeant guilty of gunning down Afghan children and family members, he also admits it is very unlikely that the Army member will face the death penalty for his shocking massacre of innocent civilians.
The words of the US Defence Secretary have caused outrage across the world and also shbows how the US have a history of defending Army Personnel for their illegal crimes.
Statistics shows that the US military system is slow to convict Americans, particularly service members, of alleged war crimes. And when a punishment is imposed, it can range anywhere from life in prison all the way down to house arrest. Other factors can seem to play more of a role than the crime itself.
In the case of Army Staff Sgt Robert Bales, the suspect in the March 11, 2012 Kandahar shootings, legal experts say the 38-year-old married father of two young children could face a lengthy prison sentence if convicted of the crime, which has threatened US-Afghan relations.
Of the long list of alleged US atrocities from prison massacres in World War II to the slaughter of civilians at My Lai in Vietnam relatively few high-profile war crimes believed to involve Americans in the past century have resulted in convictions, let alone the death penalty.
Andrea Prasow, the organization's senior counterterrorism counsel, said there was only one word to describe America's track record for punishing war crimes: "abysmal." She says she is most troubled by a lack of accountability in suspected abuse of detainees, including the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq and secret interrogations led by the CIA. "Every time a case is not prosecuted, it contributes to a culture of impunity," Prasow said.
This again is a proof that if this act of crime was committed by any one else but the Army Personnel, the penalty would have been that which is written in the law and not one to defend a criminal which Army Staff Sgt Robert Bales is.
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