The Pentagon’s chief war crimes prosecutor said Sunday that in 2011 he studied the files of the five Taliban prisoners recently traded for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and concluded they could not be prosecuted here.
Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins made the remark to reporters on the eve of a two-day session of the Sept. 11 pretrial hearings, which are aimed at probing whether the FBI’s questioning of defense team members compromised some teams’ integrity.
A reporter asked the general whether it was true that two of the long-held Afghan prisoners released by the Obama administration in the May 31 Bergdahl exchange were identified by the United Nations as war criminals.
Martins replied that in 2009 a task force of federal and military prosecutors concluded: “There was not a successful prosecution to be had of any of those five.”
The general added that when he took the job as chief prosecutor in 2011, he reviewed all detainee files, including the five Taliban who were traded, and concluded the same thing, “based on a careful searching look at everything that was available.”
Human Rights Watch has linked two of the released men to Taliban massacres of Shiites during the 1998 civil war around Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan.
“If you have a question about some U.N. tribunal or so forth, I would recommend that you direct it to them,” the general said.