16 Mar '12, 9pm

US soldiers are immune from prosecution by Afghanistan, CRS says

The American soldier who is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians is under the legal jurisdiction of the U.S. government and is immune from prosecution under Afghan law, says a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. Afghan officials had said they wanted the soldier to be tried in Afghanistan, not in an American military court, the New York Times and other press outlets reported. But according to CRS, the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the US and Afghanistan dictates otherwise. “In the case of Afghanistan, the SOFA, in force since 2003, provides that U.S. Department of Defense military and civilian personnel are to be accorded status equivalent to that of U.S. Embassy administrative and technical staff under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961,” the CRS report said. “Accordingly, U.S. personnel are immune from criminal pr...

Full article: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2012/03/sofa_afghan.html

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