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0 Seven Polish soldiers acquitted of Nangar Khel wedding party killings

Seven Polish soldiers accused of war crimes in the Afghan village of Nangar Khel in August 2007 have been acquitted by a court in Warsaw due to “lack of evidence”.

 The Circuit Military Court decided there was not enough evidence to sentence the soldiers and their commander.
Prosecutors had demanded between 5 and 12 years imprisonment for the men.
Six commandos serving in the 18th Stormtrooper Battalion from Biesko-Biala had been charged with manslaughter, with a seventh accused of “opening fire at an undefended object”.
The attack on what was actually a wedding party resulted in the deaths of six civilians, including a pregnant woman and three children, and seriously injured three other women.
The judge said today in his ruling that the court did not have access to proper documentation and was not able to establish precisely from where the shots had been fired, or the precise placement of witnesses.
The case had set a precident in the history of the Polish armed forces, said Judge Col. Mirosław Jaroszewski.
The sentence can be appealed by prosecutors.

Hague Convention
The trial began on 2 February 2009, and is the first such case in the history of the Polish Army where soldiers have been accused of breaking the Hague Convention and the killing of civilians as a result of war activity.
During the final hearings in the case last week, which was ongoing since 2009, Prosecutor Colonel Jabub Mytych judged the accused as guilty in the charges brought against them, and that the soldiers broke both the Geneva and Hague conventions, as well as Polish law.
“Stating that [the soldiers] were aiming at another target is merely a line of defence,” Colonel Mytych said.
On 16 August 2007, Polish military vehicles came under fire in the village of Nangar Khel, located in the Paktika province of Afghanistan.
In July last year, Wikileaks released documents on the incident with one confidential document declaring that, “[The Polish soldiers] fired a total of 26 rounds according to one report. They fired over and then short and then three rounds impacted within a compound. One impacted on the roof of the house, one impacted in the court yard, and the last went through the roof and detonated within the house. There was a wedding celebration going on in the house, which explains the high number of casualties.”
‘Fatal error’
During the case, Defence Minister Bogdan Klich stood by the accused soldiers, stating that they had performed a “fatal error” and as such should be judged as not guilty.
Klich made his point known back in December 2007 after meeting with US Army Colonel Martin Schuitzer, who was the Commanding Officer of Polish troops in Afghanistan at the time.
Colonel Schuitzer then conceded that American soldiers perform similar errors a few times a month, and that the Poles’ ‘accident’ in Nangar Khel was the first such incident to have taken place.

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