CHICAGO — A former US soldier serving a life sentence for the gang rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and the slaughter of her family lost his appeal Tuesday, court records showed.
Steven Green, named as the ringleader in the March 2006 atrocity, was tried in civilian court after being discharged from the army due to a “personality disorder” before his role in the crime came to light.
Three other soldiers were given life sentences by a military court for the attack, which they plotted over whiskey and a game of cards at a traffic check point in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad.
Unlike Green, who has no possibility of parole, they can be released in as little as 10 years for participating in the rape and killing of 14-year-old Abeer al-Janabi and the murder of her mother, father and six-year-old sister.
Green’s lawyers argued in their appeal of his 2009 conviction that the civilian court lacked jurisdiction because he was not properly discharged from the army.
They said the statute that allowed him to be tried in a civilian court for crimes committed while serving in the military — which has its own system of justice — was unconstitutional.
“We find that these arguments fail and thus affirm the decision of the district court,” Judge Boyce Martin wrote in a unanimous 23-page opinion.
While there was “no question” of Green’s guilt, Martin wrote that “Green should never have been accepted by the Army” noting that his testing at enlistment was “marginal at best” and he only had “limited” training.
“While many were to blame for the breakdown that led up to this tragedy, there was no single cause,” Martin wrote, adding that Green’s supervisors “failed in their duties.”