The Death Penalty for Three US “Rapist Soldiers"

A US military court in Baghdad heard graphic testimony on Monday (8/8) of how three US soldiers took turns raping a 14-year-old- Iraqi girl before murdering her and the family.
At the hearing into whether the four marines should be court martialled for rape, a special agent described what took place in Mahmudiyah in March, based on an interview he had with one of the men, Specialist James Barker. The case, the fifth involving serious being investigated by the US military in Iraq, has outraged Iraqis and led Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to call for a review of foreign troops’ immunity from prosecution under Iraqi war.

Special Agent Benjamin Bierce recalled that Barker described to him how they put a couple and their six year-old daughter into a bedroom of their home, but kept the teenage girl in the living room, where Barker held her hands while Sergeant Paul Cortez raped her or tried to rape her. Barker then switched positions with Cortez and attempted to rape the girl but said he was not sure if he had done so, Bierce told the hearing.

Barker also told the special agent he heard shots from the bedroom and shortly afterwards Private Steven Green emerged from the room, put down an AK-47 assault rifle and raped the girl while Cortez held her down. Barker told Bierce that Green then picked up the weapon and shot her once, paused, and shot her several more times. Military prosecutors are expected to set out their case against Private First Class, Jesse Spielman (21), Barker (23), Cortex (23) and Private First Class, Bryan Howard (19) who face charges of rape and murder among others.

If court martialled after the Article 32 hearing – the military’s equivalent of a US grand jury – and found guilty, they could face the death penalty. The hearing began on Sunday and is expected to last several days.

We hope the verdict won’t be like what the Court decided for Green (21), their rapist partner that faces the same charges in a US federal court in Kentucky, who has pleaded not guilty and only get discharged punishment from the army for a “personality disorder”.

The big question that rose in my mind is a soldier who raped an innocent girl before killed her only get a “personality disorder” predicate, so what kind of conduct should be a soldier done to give him a predicate as an “evil personality”? On the whole, I think the death penalty is the only and the best verdict to hold the social and humanity justice in that case. Are you brave enough to do that, Uncle “human rights” Sam?

– Pan Mohamad Faiz –

Lady Judges for Rape Victims


Indian Government is all set to make it mandatory that only women judges will hear rape cases. However, the legal fraternity is divided on whether it will help the victims.

There is another move for the empowerment of women in Judicial System. This time it is the law doing its bit for the rape victims, in the form of the recent move to make it mandatory for rape cases to be tried only by women judges. The idea supposedly being to do away with the “tough questioning” that defence lawyers resort to in courts, normally presided over by male judges. But will this actually help women or is it just another cosmetic change? If we assuming that our systems, India and Indonesia, are biased and that rape victims do not get justice, then it will very help the victims to get the truly justice of them.

The law’s motive is clear – it wants to safeguards women from feelings of awkwardness and shame. A rape victim is already emotionally scarred, but with women judge around, they will feel more comfortable. The comfort level between two women is certainly more and a woman judge will definitely be able to empathise with the victim.

Some disagree opinions stated that it is not about who is sitting on trial, but what we should hope for is justice. However, it might give the victim a sense of ease, but a male judge can achieve that too. Whatever it’s a woman or a man the law remains the same.

We all have known that male judges who lead the rape cases, especially in Indonesia, often embarrass the victims with ridiculous questions. Therefore, lady judges might be a little sympathetic towards the victim, even which is not what the law demands.

In brief, I think this is more of a psychological strategy that will help women. And although men may be kinder, victims will feel more secure in the presence of women judges. Though a judge may deliver perceptional justice, a woman’s verdict will be more acceptable.

If this system will has been set up, the final question is why single out only rape victims – what about victims of dowry harassment and sexual assault? They should be judged only by women, shouldn’t they?

– Pan Mohamad Faiz –