May 28, 2024

“Mercy killing” on the battlefield is still murder, Canadian court finds

Captain Robert Semrau could be jailed for 5 years

Captain Robert SemrauA Canadian Army officer has been found
guilty over the “mercy killing” of a wounded Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan.
Captain Robert Semrau could face up to five years in jail for “disgraceful
conduct”. However, the jury of fellow officers found him not guilty of
second-degree murder and attempted murder.

The incident occurred in 2008 in the Afghan
province of Helmand. The prosecution alleged that Captain felt bound by a
“soldier’s pact” to end the suffering of a gravely wounded man. “He told us
that he shot the Taliban, he put him out of his misery and if anything came of
it, he would wear it,” a corporal told the court. However, with no body, no
autopsy, and conflicting witnesses, it was difficult for the prosecution to
establish a case for murder. There is no defence for mercy killing in Canadian

In 2004 an American
tried to excuse a battlefield execution in Baghdad’s Sadr City
suburb as “mercy killing”. However, he was found guilty of unpremeditated
murder and sentenced to three years in jail. ~ Globe and
Mail, July 19

Michael Cook
mercy killing