Marine ‘A’: Criminal or Casualty of War?

In May 2011 at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, British filmmaker Chris Terrill watched a company of Royal Marine commandos head deep into hostile territory, their mission was to set up a new patrol base in order to lure the enemy into attacking them, literally becoming live bait in which to attract attack.

Out of the 100 Marines that went on this particular mission three would lose their lives, 20 would suffer from serious injury and one would eventually became known to everyone as “Marine A” for committing a battlefield crime so serious that it sent shockwaves around the world.

Sgt. Alexander Blackman (Marine A) was one of three Royal Marines who were anonymously tried by court-martial on 8 November 2013. Marines B and C were acquitted but Blackman was found to be guilty of the murder of an Afghan combatant, this made him the first British soldier to be convicted of a battlefield murder whilst serving abroad since the Second World War.

The conviction of Sgt. Blackman divided a nation as some condemned him as a war criminal, while others claim he is a casualty of war. This film explores the ethics of combat and rules of engagement during wartime revealing the mind-bending nature of active duty on the front line.

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