Four US army officers disciplined following Kosovo rape-murder case

WASHINGTON, Aug 16, 2000 -- (AFP) Four US army officers have been disciplined following an investigation stemming from the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl by a US sergeant in Kosovo, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The investigation found that soldiers in the sergeant's peacekeeping unit in Kosovo had beat, threatened, and illegally detained local nationals, and some had grabbed the breasts and buttocks of local women, army spokeswoman Elaine Kannelis confirmed.

The report's findings were introduced by the defense in the court martial of Sergeant Frank Ronghi, who was sentenced to life in prison for the rape and beating death January 13 of 11-year-old Merite Shabiu.

Kannelis said the army was in the process of producing a declassified version of the report, which would be made public soon.

The four 82nd Airborne Division officers were not identified and the army provided little information about the charges against them or the punishment meted out.

"They've been disciplined for violating Kosovo rules of engagement and Task Force Falcon policies," Kannelis said.

One officer received non-judicial punishment under Article 15 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, and the other three received "memoranda of reprimand" from the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division.

The actions raised to nine the number of US soldiers who have been disciplined following the Ronghi affair, the Pentagon said in a statement.

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