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Report: Criminal charges dropped against officer in urination video case

A video posted on YouTube purports to show U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters. A Corps spokesman said the matter is under investigation.

The Marine Corps has dropped criminal charges against an officer accused in connection with a YouTube video showing Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters, the Marine Corps Times reports.

Capt. James V. Clement, the only officer criminally charged in the case, instead will face a Board of Inquiry that will determine an administrative punishment, the website said. He's accused of "substandard performance of duty, misconduct, and moral or professional dereliction."

Clement was the executive officer for Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment out of Camp Lejune, N.C., in July 2011, when the incident occurred.

The controversial 39-second video, posted on YouTube in January 2012, shows four enlisted Marines in combat gear urinating on the corpses of dead insurgents in Musa Qala, Afghanistan. One Marine could be overheard saying to one of the bodies, "Have a good day, buddy."

Clement is not seen in the YouTube video but faced charges of dereliction of duty, violation of a lawful general order, making false statements to an investigator and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman for failing to supervise junior Marines, failing to stop the misconduct of junior Marines and failing to report misconduct.

He was scheduled for November court-martial, the Marine Corps Times said. Clement's civilian lawyer told the website it was frustrated the Marine Corps was dropping the charges for administrative punishment.

"This is sore losing. This is not classy, and it doesn’t stand with the excellence the Marine Corps is known for," John Dowd said.

It triggered outrage in Afghanistan and concern in the U.S. that it could turn Afghans against Americans and serve as a recruiting tool for the Taliban.

news@stripes.com

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