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Polish military court convicts 4 former, current army officers over Afghan deaths

  • At the right, from left to right : Lukasz Bywalec, Tomasz Borysiewicz,  and Damian Ligocki,  who served for the Polish army in Afghanistan,  stand  in a courtroom of the Provincial Military Court in Warsaw Thursday March 19, 2015  while a fourth defendant was absent.   The Polish military court has convicted and handed suspended prison terms in the retrial of the four former and present Polish army officers in the deaths of six Afghani civilians in 2007 when they opened mortar and machine gun fire on the village of Nangar Khel, while serving on a NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.  It was Polish army’s first war crimes trial ever.  (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    At the right, from left to right : Lukasz Bywalec, Tomasz Borysiewicz, and Damian Ligocki, who served for the Polish army in Afghanistan, stand in a courtroom of the Provincial Military Court in Warsaw Thursday March 19, 2015 while a fourth defendant was absent. The Polish military court has convicted and handed suspended prison terms in the retrial of the four former and present Polish army officers in the deaths of six Afghani civilians in 2007 when they opened mortar and machine gun fire on the village of Nangar Khel, while serving on a NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. It was Polish army’s first war crimes trial ever. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • From left to right : Lukasz Bywalec, Tomasz Borysiewicz,  and Damian Ligocki,  who served for the Polish army in Afghanistan,  stand  in a courtroom of the Provincial Military Court in Warsaw Thursday March 19, 2015 while a fourth defendant was absent.   The Polish military court has convicted and handed suspended prison terms in the retrial of the four former and present Polish army officers in the deaths of six Afghani civilians in 2007 when they opened mortar and machine gun fire on the village of Nangar Khel, while serving on a NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.  It was Polish army’s first war crimes trial ever.  (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    From left to right : Lukasz Bywalec, Tomasz Borysiewicz, and Damian Ligocki, who served for the Polish army in Afghanistan, stand in a courtroom of the Provincial Military Court in Warsaw Thursday March 19, 2015 while a fourth defendant was absent. The Polish military court has convicted and handed suspended prison terms in the retrial of the four former and present Polish army officers in the deaths of six Afghani civilians in 2007 when they opened mortar and machine gun fire on the village of Nangar Khel, while serving on a NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. It was Polish army’s first war crimes trial ever. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • From left to right : Lukasz Bywalec, Tomasz Borysiewicz,  and Damian Ligocki,  who served for the Polish army in Afghanistan,   sit in a courtroom of the Provincial Military Court in Warsaw Thursday March 19, 2015 while a fourth defendant was absent.   The Polish military court has convicted and handed suspended prison terms in the retrial of the four former and present Polish army officers in the deaths of six Afghani civilians in 2007 when they opened mortar and machine gun fire on the village of Nangar Khel, while serving on a NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.  It was Polish army’s first war crimes trial ever.  (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    From left to right : Lukasz Bywalec, Tomasz Borysiewicz, and Damian Ligocki, who served for the Polish army in Afghanistan, sit in a courtroom of the Provincial Military Court in Warsaw Thursday March 19, 2015 while a fourth defendant was absent. The Polish military court has convicted and handed suspended prison terms in the retrial of the four former and present Polish army officers in the deaths of six Afghani civilians in 2007 when they opened mortar and machine gun fire on the village of Nangar Khel, while serving on a NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. It was Polish army’s first war crimes trial ever. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

A Polish military court has convicted and handed suspended prison terms in the retrial of four former and current army officers in the deaths of six Afghan civilians in 2007.

The five-judge panel on Thursday found the four, ranking from lieutenant junior grade to sergeant, guilty of being lax about their orders when they aimed mortar and machine-gun fire on the village of Nangar Khel, while serving on a NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. They were given suspended prison terms of between two years and six months.

The court cleared them of war crimes accusations. They had pleaded innocent, blaming faulty ammunition.

The four were acquitted in 2011, but the prosecutors appealed, insisting it was a war crime. It was the first time Poland's army held a war crimes trial.