WASHINGTON, DC—Following reports of $50,000 in compensation offered for each civilian killed by US Staff Sargent Banes in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Sarah Holewinski, executive director of war victims advocacy group CIVIC said:

“Compensation can never bring back a loved one, and no monetary value can be placed on a life. However, CIVIC welcomes these payments by the US military as a show of recognition for the suffering of these families.  The US must stand by its obligation to give them the full range of justice, including holding accountable the perpetrator and ensuring any other compensation as dictated by international law. As investigations continue, these families must not be forgotten.

“In cases of wrongful acts, which the incident in Kandahar appears to be, the US military maintains a claims system under the Foreign Claims Act to provide compensation to civilians. These payments are separate and distinct from the “condolence” payments the US military offers to families suffering losses in the course of their combat operations. Such condolence payments average about $2500 for a death, while payments made under the Foreign Claims Act can amount to much more, as they are determined on the basis of cultural standards and a calculus that includes the victim’s age, occupation and other factors.”


Notes to editors:

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)’s mission is to improve protection for civilians caught in conflicts around the world. We call on and advise international organizations, governments, militaries, and armed non-state actors to adopt and implement policies to prevent civilian harm. When civilians are harmed we advocate for the provision of amends and post-harm assistance. We bring the voices of civilians themselves to those making decisions affecting their lives.

For more information, contact Christopher Allbritton at +1 (917) 310-4785 or chris@civiliansinconflict.org.


Image courtesy of US Department of Defense