Two US Marines are to face criminal charges for urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, the Marines Corps has said.
The criminal charges are the first faced by anyone over the incident, a video of which was widely circulated on the internet, sparking protests in Afghanistan earlier this year.
At the time, Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, called the Marines’ actions “inhumane”.
Staff Sergeants Joseph W Chamblin and Edward W Deptola, were also charged with “posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties” the Corps said, and will face a court martial.
The Corps’ investigation showed that although the video was only circulated on the internet in January, the incident actually took place on or around July 27, 2011, during an operation in the Afghan province of Helmand.
The Corps said on August 27 that three Marines had pleaded guilty to charges over the video. Their punishment, however, fell short of criminal prosecution.
Chamblin and Deptola also face a series of charges related to being in dereliction of their duties, including failing to supervise junior Marines. The charges also include failing to report the “negligent discharge” of a grenade launcher.
Deptola is also charged with failing to stop the unnecessary damaging of Afghan compounds.
The Corps said there were other pending cases in the video investigation. They declined to elaborate on the incident in which the negligent actions took place.