Suspect marine will not return to Iraq
6 February 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch marine suspected of murdering an Iraqi civilian in December will not return to peacekeeping duties in Iraq, despite the fact the Arnhem Court recently ordered him released from detention due to a lack of evidence.
But sergeant-major Erik O. will resume duties on Monday at the marine barracks in Doorn, near Utrecht, Defence Minister Henk Kamp said in the television programme Twee Vandaag (Two Today) on Thursday.
He will remain available at the barracks for further questioning by the Arnhem Public Prosecution Office (OM), news agency ANP reported.
The marine is accused of shooting and killing a suspected Iraqi looter on 27 December and was flown home to the Netherlands on New Year’s Eve to face criminal charges. He was ordered released on 6 January, but remains under suspicion.
O. had previously indicated he wished to quickly return to Iraq and the Dutch military did not raise any objections. The OM said it strongly preferred that he remain in the Netherlands, but admitted he was free to go where he wanted.
A spokesman for Minister Kamp said that after discussions with the OM, the minister had decided to keep O. in the Netherlands.
The man’s arrest and public allegations attracted strong criticism from military unions and MPs. Amid the fracas, Minister Kamp dismissed concerns over military orders and said he was not prepared to adjust the orders of violent military engagement issued to peacekeeping troops.
Kamp personally met with O. on Thursday and said that the marine was willing to return to Iraq immediately. “But I am happy that he will resume work in Doorn on Monday,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, a military police investigation team has returned home after conducting recent inquiries in Iraq. Kamp said he was not yet informed of the team’s findings.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + Iraq