March 19th, 2012
04:45 PM ET

Bales to be tried in United States

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, being held for alleged killing of 16 Afghan villagers earlier this month, will be tried in the United States, a military official told reporters in Afghanistan.  Afghan officials had called for a public trial in Afghanistan. But after Bales was whisked out of the country last week to Kuwait, and finally to Kansas on Friday, it seemed highly improbable the the U.S. military was not going to be holding a trial in Afghanistan.

"We have not determined, we are doing some coordination to find out what the final venue will be, but the proceedings will take place somewhere in the United States." said the official, identified in a transcript released on Monday only as a "U.S. Forces Afghanistan Legal Expert."

The U.S. will also make payments to villagers for loss of life and property loss, the unnamed official said at the reporter roundtable in Kabul.

"There is discussion going on right now about the best way to make that compensation in coordination with local Afghan officials and with the families," the official  said.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • SSGT Robert Bales
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. John Eckhardt

    Under the status of forces agreement (SOFA) in Afghanistan, having him tried in an Afghan civil court was never a consideration. He was always going to be tried by a US General Court Martial under the UCMJ - the only question was whether in the US, in Afghanistan, or on a US base in Kuwait or Germany. My guess is that the Army decided that security for the trial would be infinitely easier in the US. You can imagine that the base hosting the courtroom in Afghanistan would probably become a target for suicide bombers,or rocket or mortar attacks, putting not only the accused, but also all the other participants in the trial in danger. While holding the trial in the US probably causes some logistical difficulties for the prosecution ( securing the testimony of the Afghani witnesses - possibly bringing them to the US to appear in court), the course of the trial will be the same no matter where it is held.

    BTW, there are plenty of US servicemen who are in civilian jails after being concvicted in civilian courts, both in the US and in overseas jurisdictions such as Japan, where it is allowed under the SOFA. In such cases the US military only retains jurisdiction of the offense occurs on base or there is otherwise some "Service Connection" to the offense.

    BTW, capital punishment, if imposed would be by lethal injection. The firing squad was abandoned with the adoption of hte UCMJ in 1947 and hanging was dropped in 1961.

    March 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Reply
  2. Jim

    Why doesn't anyone speak out this passionately when Afghanis kill women and children with ieds and suicide bombs. I mean, when in Rome,right? You want to hang this man? fine hang him, but the next time a Muslim kills a few women and children make sure you speak up. Im not saying Bales is right, definately not. He does deserve a fair trial.

    March 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • Jo

      Absolutly

      March 21, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  3. Jo

    The Afghan's blow themselves up along with innocent women and children everyday! Why aren't we pissed at them? 1000's of them monthly at times. Why is that on the new's for 24 hours and then it's all said and done? This guy should be tried and convicted yes, but what about the guy's that blow up the IED's and kill our's everyday? why is that not such a big as a deal as this killing? It's because the Afghan's could give a shit. They laugh when Americans die. Why? Because we are not Muslim. and what has been drilled into their tiny little towel wrapped heads from birth is that if your not Muslim your an Infidel and you don't deserve to live. been in this mans military since 1979, trained these people. They would turn their weapons on you in a minute if you say or do the wrong thing. For us to try this man in Afghanistan is crazy. The trial would go like this: "Are you a Muslim?" OK Habib bring that dull kitchen knife over here so we can saw this Infidel's Head off, and don't forget to post this on you tube"! Whattaya Nut's Brother?

    Master Sergeant Jo Special Forces Afghanistan

    March 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  4. Spelunker4Plato

    Never has there been a better oppurtunity to try an american terrorist. He should be tried in an Afghani military tribunal without due process. The U.S. military should put our taxpayer money where their mouth is.

    March 20, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  5. yiannis

    THIS WILL PROVE TO BE A HUGE BLUNDER
    THE AFGAN PEOPLE WHAT TO SEE JUSTICE SERVED ON THERE OWN SOIL
    THIS MOVE WILL ENRAGED THEM
    THE US MILITARY THINKS THAT AFGAN LIVES CAN BE BOUGHT FOR A FEW AMERICAN BUCKS (2000 DOLLARS)
    IT WILL NOT WORK
    IT MAKES BE WONDER IF THIS IS SOME KIND OF A CALCULATED PLAN TO BRING THE TROOPS HOME EARLY IN TIME FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
    IT SURELY SOUNDS FISHY
    IF NOT FISHY ,THEN DOWNRIGHT STUPID

    March 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • frank

      There is not a chance that we would turn over a soldier to the Afghans to be beheaded on youtube.

      March 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
  6. Buck Futt

    He'll probably get the firing squad and well he deserves it...

    March 20, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • AlexShch

      Firing squad has been abolished.

      Hanging has been abolished as well.

      I guess, it will be a lengthy trial ending with claim of diminishing capacity, sentencing to the time served, and, perhaps, may be, dishonorable discharge.

      March 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Reply
  7. Feltch

    It's slap on the wrist time.

    March 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Reply
  8. Skiatookgene

    If a Afgan came here and murdered 16 people how willing would America be to allow his trial over there? He did the crime there, he should go on trial there. How would we feel if they wanted to have the 9/11 bombers trial over there? Sometimes I wonder who we think we are?

    March 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Reply
    • Feltch

      Overbearing assholes who tell the rest of the world what to do and how to do it?

      March 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Reply
    • Buzzer

      Its called a SOFA, or Status of Forces Agreement, and if the roles have been reversed as you depict we would "feel" upset, but we would comply...fortunately we are a nation of "laws" and "feelings" have no place in a court of law, just the facts...our system is much more appropriate and less subject to corruption than what would be offered in Afghanistan.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Reply
      • Chris

        Thank you for bringing what will probably be one of the few notes of sanity and reason to this blog.

        March 21, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • dog4dog

      he was performing duty as a member of the us military and by law is not subject to their law system but rather the law of the military and usa, would a soldier who broke the law in afghan by showing her face in public be subject to local law, now murder is henious and far different but nonetheless he is a member of the us military and thus under the military law

      March 20, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
    • Matt DeMello

      Active duty service members who committ a crime are punished under the ucmj whether they are overseas or in the united states. Besides, do you want an american service member to be put on trial in a country where corruption runs rampant? The truth is, the United States will give a fair trial regardless of the fact that he is an American, the same can't be said in Afghanistan. What you don't get is the rest of the world doesn't play by the same rules you and I do. When you have done some time over here you may have an opinion until then give it a rest.

      March 20, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
      • AlexShch

        ...with the exception of the active duty service members who committ a crime overseas in a non-US-pupped-country AND GOT CAUGHT by the authorities of THAT country. Then the are facing justice system of that country which makes UCMJ irrelevant. This happens from time to time.

        March 20, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • frank

      We wouldn't behead him with a dull knife and pot it in youtube.

      March 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  9. Jon

    This is why Iraq refused to grant US soldiers immunity from all local jurisdiction. The lawyers will trot out the flag, cite the soldiers combat record and he will receive little or no punishment. The US will pay the families the agreed upon blood money for killing innocents and then claim that nothing else can be done.Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

    March 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Reply
    • Buzzer

      Awfully big assumption...care to make a bet on what will happen? Slap on the wrist or a minimum of life in Levenworth, KS?

      March 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Reply
    • Buzzer

      We refused this because we had zero faith in the Iraqis separating politics and corruption from their legal system...and yes ours, while not perfect, is expotentially more comprehensive, less corrupted and adept at handling what would be a complex and contentious case.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Reply
    • AlexShch

      Not only Iraq. Kyrgyzstan as well. In 2001 Kyrgyzstan signed a standard fine-print agreement with US without reading it first, which says that whatever US soldiers do remains under US Jurisdiction, which in practice means nothing else but blanket immunity. In December 2006 a trigger happy US marine killed a Kyrgyz citizen then the marine was quickly flown out of Kyrgyzstan. There was no trial and no punishment for the marine, as far as I am aware. Investigation is still "pending" or something. US offered $5000 to the family to pay for funeral. The blanked immunity, however, was revoked since then.

      March 20, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  10. media trial case

    This mad man is being presented to the world by his lawyer through media sites , which is resulting in a one sided story since the facts of the matter can not be presented by the courts on media sites.

    the lawyer is freely defending this mad man on national media and tv since his client has not yet bin charged. so after days of hearing and reading the slant of this lawyers defence we are now considering some of these points as facts of the defence and that my friends in the court of justice is tainting the facts and the case.

    if for some reason this case was to go to civi court the statements made by this lawyer through the media could very well influence a prospective jury. this case is in my opinion is being tried outside the court of law . someone had better get a handle on this mess.

    i said a few days ago that this case will be about what the military leadership failed to do rather than what horrific crimes against humanity this animal committed against women and children.

    March 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Reply
    • AlexShch

      Where is lawyer Jose Baez? And why not to assemble a dream team?

      March 20, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Reply
      • Noob

        He is dead . Noob

        March 21, 2012 at 6:55 am |

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.