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Date: Sun, 14 May 1995 21:48:26 +0000
From: Rebecca Riehm <rsriehm@mailbox.syr.edu>
Subject: Sentence in Capt. Rockwood Court-Martial

Sentence in Capt. Rockwood Court-Martial

By Rebecca Riehm <rsriehm@mailbox.syr.edu>
14 May 1995

5:30 PM EST, May 14

The jury in the court-martial of Capt. Lawrence Rockwood reconvened for sentencing deliberations Sunday afternoon. After motions by the defense, they removed themselves to ponder Captain Rockwood's fate. About 3:00 PM, court reconvened. Capt. Rockwood stood as Judge Newberry read the sentence.

After the sentence was announced, Capt. Rockwood spoke to human rights representatives and the press.

My sentence in the court martial was dismissal (equal to dishonorable discharge) from the service with a forfeiture of 2/3 pay and allowances. I am, of course, planning to appeal.

Although it may sound strange, I am not entirely relieved by the sentence of no confinement. As a soldier by vocation, I always considered dismissal as the most adverse penalty. The sentence is however not surprising: it is consistent with my command's desire to conceal their inaction as far as the inspection of Haitian prisons is concerned.

More important than my career, I am concerned that the US Army is attempting to marginalize the Nuremberg principles in the most subtle and quiet manner possible. Indeed, during the seven-day trial, the government side insisted that personal and command responsibility for human rights violations is irrelevant for American military personnel. The prosecution never departed from the mantra of force protection uber alles. From General McClellan to General Powell, generals take refuge in this mantra when required to carry out missions they are not excited about.

Rebecca S. Riehm

Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it. - Gandhi