Thursday, January 8, 2009

Canadian Officer Faces Charges From Afghanistan Shooting

As a serving officer, I need to avoid making any personal comments while the case of Captain Robert Semrau is being decided. However, as this blog is interested in military ethics, amongst other things, I believe it important to flag this matter. Semrau, to my knowledge, is the first Canadian soldier to face charges for treatment of a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. Several commentators in the press have noted that the Canadian Forces is moving quickly to bring Semrau's case to trial, and is handling the matter with a considerable degree of transparency.

In brief, Captain Semrau is charged with second degree murder after allegedly killing a wounded Taliban fighter while on patrol in Afghanistan on 19 October 2008. The latest DND press release on Captain Semrau can be found here. The latest coverage from the Globe and Mail can be found here. Whether Semrau's alleged actions will be seen as an act of mercy or as an act of murder, and a military's obligations to wounded enemy combatants, will be the questions at issue in this case.

According to CBC news, yesterday a military court in Petawawa, ON, allowed Semrau to return to his unit and return home, as recommended by both the defence and the prosecution. CBC is reporting that the investigation continues and the trial will not likely begin until the fall.

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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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