A new video has been released of a group of soldiers from the Polish Army blowing up a dwelling in a deserted area of Afghanistan, a move which goes against the Geneva Convention.
“What a beauty!” comments one of the soldiers when the building is blown to pieces in the 3-minute, recorded by Polish soldiers from the Army’s 6th rotation during their tour of duty between October 2009 and April 2010.
“It was done for fun,” a non-commissioned officer at the time serving in Afghanistan told the Rzeczpospolita daily, adding that there were more deserted buildings in the area, the remains of a village.
General Janusz Bronowicz, head of the 6th rotation of the Polish Army’s Armoured Units and Mechanised Infantry in Afghanistan was not told about the activity, only acknowledging the blowing up of a cave where explosive materials were found.
“If it’s true, it is criminal and impermissible,” Bronowicz tells the Rzeczpospolita daily, which breaks the story.
The blowing up of civilian buildings is against the Geneva Convention and is “a foundation of international law, regardless of the fact whether the building is worth a million dollars or if it is just a shack,” remarks Dr. Elzbieta Mikos-Skuza, vice-chairwoman of the Polish Red Cross and a humanitarian expert.
“Such objects can only be blown up in special circumstances, in training exercises or with the explicit agreement of local authorities, for example,” says General Waldemar Skrzypczak, former head of the Polish Armed Forces.
The Polish Army is also to investigate the means used to blow up the village huts.
The video shows that the ammunition used was of a large calibre, and fired from a Rosomak armoured transportation vehicle. “Ammunition for the Rosomak is very expensive, I cannot believe that we could have afforded such activity,” Skrzypczak states. Each shell for the Rosomak costs between 600 and 1,400 zloty (150-350 euro).
So far three soldiers have been accused of the activity, including a platoon warrant officer. If found guilty, they may be sentenced up to 8 years in prison. The video is also being used as evidence in the case.
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