A judge indicted three U.S. soldiers Friday in the 2003 death of a Spanish journalist who was killed when their tank opened fire at a hotel in Baghdad.
Sgt. Shawn Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip de Camp were charged with homicide in the death of Jose Couso and “a crime against the international community.” This is defined under Spanish law as an indiscriminate or excessive attack against civilians during war.
Following the incident, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell said the troops responded after drawing hostile fire from the hotel. He said a U.S. review of the incident found the use of force was justified.
According to the five-page indictment, de Camp ordered the shot, and Wolford then authorized Gibson to carry it out.
“The people indicted knew and were aware that the Palestine Hotel was occupied by civilians, without there being a proved threat (sniper or otherwise) against themselves or the U.S troops, therefore, the tank shot that caused the death of Mr. Couso would constitute an attack, retaliation, or violence threat or act aimed at terrifying journalists,” the indictment said.