WASHINGTON, July 9, 2006 – Charges have been preferred against four U.S. soldiers accused of rape and murder in connection with the deaths of four Iraqi civilians in March. A fifth soldier has been accused of dereliction of duty for failing to report the offenses, U.S. officials announced today. The five soldiers were charged yesterday in connection with their alleged participation in the rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman and the murders of three members of her family. The fifth soldier was charged with dereliction of duty for his failure to report the rape and murder of these Iraqi civilians, but is not alleged to have been a direct participant in the rape and killings, officials said in a statement.
All are charged with conspiring with former Army Pfc. Steven D. Green to commit these crimes. Green, 21, a former 101st Airborne Division soldier, was arrested June 30 in connection with the incident, according to a July 3 announcement by the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Western District of Kentucky. Green was deployed from September 2005 to April 2006 and was discharged from the Army May 16. Army officials declined to disclose the circumstances of his discharge, citing privacy protections under the Health Information Privacy Protection Act.
The preferral of court-marital charges is merely an accusation, according to today's statement. "Those accused are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," officials stated. The next step in the legal process will be an investigation pursuant to Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Article 32 investigations are similar to grand jury hearings in civilian courts.