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Military Shooter Trial to Test the Patience of Afghans

Source: 
Bloomberg
Author: 
David Lerman and Seth Stern
Date: 
Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Bloomberg article on the case of the soldier who allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians featured Raj Bhala, Rice Distinguished Professor of Law.

Lerman and Stern wrote:

Raj Bhala, a scholar on Islamic law at the University of Kansas School of Law in Lawrence, said Sharia law also recognizes mental impairment as a legitimate defense.

Whether the Afghan public would accept such a defense in this case “really depends on how clearly and comprehensively this would be presented to them,” he said in an interview.

One way to reconcile U.S. and Afghan expectations in the latest killings may lie outside the military justice system: compensation to families of the victims in southern Afghanistan, said Noah Coburn, a socio-cultural anthropologist who focuses on dispute resolution in Afghanistan.

Islamic law encourages family of murder victims to forgive their killers by accepting such “blood money” instead of seeking revenge, Bhala said.