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Capt. Robert Semrau Charged With Murder in Afghanistan

darmil

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Read the comments on CBC and CTV they are like different side of a tennis court ::)
 

Nfld Sapper

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News Release
Charge Laid Relating to Death of Presumed Insurgent
CFNIS 2009-01 - January 2, 2009


OTTAWA – The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) has charged one military officer late yesterday with an offence relating to the death of a presumed insurgent in Helmand Province on or about October 19, 2008.

Captain Robert Semrau was charged with one count of second-degree murder, contrary to Section 130 of the National Defence Act, pursuant to Section 235(1) of the Criminal Code. Captain Semrau was a member of the Operational Mentor and Liaison Team at the time of the incident. He is accused of shooting, with intent to kill, an unarmed male person. Captain Semrau is currently in Military Police custody and will be transported back to Canada shortly for a hearing before a military judge to determine whether he is to be retained in custody.

The Commander Task Force Kandahar was made aware of the allegations on December 27, 2008 and notified the CFNIS who immediately initiated an investigation. The CFNIS laid the charge after analyzing the evidence and interviewing witnesses. As the matter is now proceeding in accordance with the Code of Service Discipline, and another part of the investigation is still ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

The CFNIS is an independent Military Police unit with a mandate to investigate serious and sensitive matters in relation to National Defence property, Departmental employees and Canadian Forces personnel serving in Canada and abroad.

- 30 -

For more information about the CFNIS, go to http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/view-news-afficher-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=2824

 

X-mo-1979

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My thoughts go out to Captain Robert Semrau and his family.I cannot imagine what they are going through.
 

OldSolduer

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Speculation should be kept to a minimum. We don't have all the facts, and we are not investigators. Maybe some folk at CBC and "analysts" should keep that in mind before spouting their anti-military rhetoric.

I wouldn't want to be in the investigator's shoes.
 

geo

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FWIW, unless we have particular information that is not known to the general public, we should assume that this Captain behaved the same way as we would / should - in a similar situation.

Captain Semrau should be given the courtessey of the benefit of the doubt until such time as new facts emerge & substantiate inproper behavior.
 

Infanteer

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OldSolduer said:
Speculation should be kept to a minimum. We don't have all the facts, and we are not investigators. Maybe some folk at CBC and "analysts" should keep that in mind before spouting their anti-military rhetoric.

I wouldn't want to be in the investigator's shoes.

+1.

This is obviously a very sensitive and difficult matter and I won't call into question the professionalism of the NIS as many are apt to on the news commentary.  Let us do are part here by keeping the chatter to a minimum as this proceeds - lord knows the loud banging of the news headlines shakes the foundations of "innocent until proven guilty".

On another note, I know this man personally and was quite shocked to see this.  He is a experienced and respected soldier and a true professional.  I hope this can be resolved effectively in a timely fashion.
 

OldSolduer

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Innocent until proven guilty. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms assures that, I presume.
 

NL_engineer

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Infanteer said:
On another note, I know this man personally and was quite shocked to see this.  He is a experienced and respected soldier and a true professional.  I hope this can be resolved effectively in a timely fashion.

The damage to his reputation is already done, with the release of his name to the media.

OldSolduer said:
Innocent until proven guilty. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms assures that, I presume.


Charter CH 11
11. Any person charged with an offence has the right

    a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
    b) to be tried within a reasonable time;
    c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
    d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
    e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;
    f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;
    g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;
    h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and
    i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.
 

Infanteer

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Osotogari said:
I hope the truth comes out, but I marvel love how investigators and lawyers, insulated from everything in life more dangerous than their morning commutes, are able to second-guess split-second battlefield decisions months after the fact.

With no perspective on how the investigation took place or what it uncovered this is exactly the type of statement I was referring to with my previous post.  For the sake of all involved, keep these types of comments to yourself and let the particulars do the talking.
 
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Osotogari said:
This should be interesting...  proceed in a transparent manner.

I've no dog in this fight.  Your comment was unneccessarily speculative and added nothing.  I've removed it.

For issues with this action, please contact Mr. Bobbitt.

The Army.ca Staff
 

observor 69

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Canadian soldier charged in Afghan death
Article  Video  Comments  JANE ARMSTRONG

The Globe and Mail

January 2, 2009 at 12:13 PM EST

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A Canadian soldier has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of an unarmed Afghan man last fall, military police said Friday.

Captain Robert Semrau is a member of a team of Canadian Forces mentors, which trains members of the fledgling Afghan National Army.

“He is accused of shooting, with intent to kill, an unarmed male person,” according to a written statement from the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (NIS), the major crimes unit of Canada's military police.


More at link plus video of interview.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090102.wsemrau0102/BNStory/International/home
 

john10

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I'm sensing a palpable hostility to the media that I don't understand. What exactly have they done wrong here?

Isn't it completely normal to identify an accused murderer?
 

X-mo-1979

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john10 said:
I'm sensing a palpable hostility to the media that I don't understand. What exactly have they done wrong here?

Isn't it completely normal to identify an accused murderer?

My anger towards the media is not due to this reporting.Its due to the next story being about the possiability of Canadian forces members may be trafficing drugs....maybe.Just seems like we are going to slip into the dark days of before and nothing but negative media again.CTV lost my respect with the DRUG alligations,not this.
 

GDawg

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john10 said:
I'm sensing a palpable hostility to the media that I don't understand. What exactly have they done wrong here?

Isn't it completely normal to identify an accused murderer?

I believe the hostility isn't directed at the media, but rather the commentary allowed on many MSM news sites. The G&M tends to close the comment boards when things get too out of hand, but the CBC "jump to conclusions mat" is still up and running last I checked. I question the utility of allowing the public to leave commentary after news articles. I feel that this new trend was intended to supplement or mimic the editorial page of print newspapers, but with newspapers they tend not to print the vitriolic, ignorant, or libelous statements that are common on the online MSM news comment boards.
 

Bo

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I did basic training with Capt Semrau.

I cannot say enough good things about this guy. He always kept the morale high in our platoon, a natural leader. Everyone liked him.

He was a very balanced, intelligent, and keen individual. When I think of the one guy in our platoon that could be a general one day, it's him. The media might make him seem like a ruthless murderer but that couldn't be further from the truth. I'm certain once more information is revealed that these charges will be dropped.

I am still somewhat in shock that Rob, of all people, is being accused of this.
 

tech2002

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ooo man, I am in shock  :eek:, this remind me almost similar case from 2002 of Canadian Forces Sniper Cpl. Furlong.. I don`t know what to say much anymore..
 

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Does anyone know where Capt. Semrau is based out of?

Also, I think we should remember that Capt. Semrau could be innocent AND the NIS staff could have been completely professional and above-board in performing their job. The possibilities are not mutually exclusive, because investigators are not judges or juries and don't use the same standard of proof. The job of investigators is not to reach a conclusion on guilt or innocence, it is to lay a charge when there is sufficient evidence to support the charge. And if military prosecutors use the same policy as civilian prosecutors (which I'm sure they do), it is their job to proceed with charges when there is a "reasonable possibility of conviction," NOT when they personally feel the accused is guilty. It is not logically inconsistent for an investigator to be acting in good faith and for a person charged to be innocent.

People seem to get caught up in the fact that charges have been laid. Just as in real life, it is pointless to speculate until the evidence comes out in court. There are a million possibilities. As one (completely hypothetical) example, there may have been evidence from witnesses that was sufficient for the NIS investigators to lay charges, but these witnesses might turn out to be completely unreliable. There might be one "side of the story" that paints a reasonable case for, say, a killing in self-defence, but another version of events that doesn't. In such a case it isn't the investigators' job to decide who they believe unless one version of events is unbelievable. They have to lay the charge and put the issue before the court.

So to make a long story short, there are two sides to every story, and we have to trust that the facts will come out eventually. This will no doubt be a crappy next couple of years for Capt. Semrau, though. Hopefully the defence lawyers and prosecutors both do their jobs.
 

Old Sweat

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Good summary, bjr.

Let's all wait and see what develops in the fullness of time. In the meantime, he is innocent in the eyes of the law.
 

1feral1

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john10 said:
I'm sensing a palpable hostility to the media that I don't understand. What exactly have they done wrong here?

The media have a way to sensationalise things, and twist and manipulate the truth to suit them through controversy, and a one sided biased opinion in this unpopular war, all for ratings and sales.

I  have a very bad taste in my mouth when it comes to media period, all through experience.

Meanwhile, until the truth comes out in the wash through a proper investigation and then should this escalate to appropiate court proceedings, I'll stick to the facts at hand thru DND press releases, and continue to take whatever the media says as nothing but scribble on a shytehouse wall, for 999/1000, thats all they are worth.

CBC War Correspondant, actor and famous Canadian, Lorne Green would roll over in his grave, if could see the tactics used by the current CBC and their ilk. What they do is not really reporting anymore.

OWDU

EDIT: All IMHO of course.
 

TheCheez

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So far the print media has been fairly restrained but I did have the misfortune of seeing a Ret'd Col on CTV trip all over himself trying to give them a good soundbyte and story to run with.

I hope for everyone the facts come out and and it's a positive ending.
 
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