Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Top-to-Bottom" Investigation into Army Leadership in War Crimes Probe

Posted By on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Depending on who you listen to, the case against a group of soldiers, including a Boise man, accused of war crimes against civilians in Afghanistan, is either unraveling or snowballing.

Twenty-year-old Pfc. Andrew Holmes is accused with four others of murder, conspiracy, possessing body parts and rampant drug use. Seven other soldiers in the same platoon are accused of conspiracy. Army documents alleged Holmes and other soldiers are responsible for the deaths of three Afghan civilians in Kandahar Province earlier this year.

Pfc. Andrew Holmes
  • Pfc. Andrew Holmes

Holmes' attorney Dan Conway told Citydesk that he wants to introduce into evidence a series of photographs that would exonerate his client.

"There are about 10 photographs of a victim that do not appear to show any bullet wounds coming from the machine gun that Private Holmes was carrying," said Conway.

Conway has won a stay in the proceedings, pending an Army review of the photographs.

Meanwhile, on Monday the Army revealed that a brigadier general has been appointed to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the accused soldiers' brigade.

"The review is focused on all aspects potentially related to the allegations of murder, assault and drug use by 5th Stryker Brigade soldiers while in Afghanistan, to include individual and leader accountability," said Maj. Kathleen Turner, spokeswoman at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the site of the legal proceedings.

Conway told Citydesk that his defense includes questions of how soldiers could have carried on such activities without their leaders stepping it.

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