Investigation dropped into Dutch soldier's violence in Afghanistan

The Public Prosecutor is dropping an investigation into decorated soldier Marco Kroon, who said that he killed a man who abducted him while on a mission in Afghanistan. The investigation has yet to provide a definitive answer, but there are insufficient leads to confirm whether or not what Kroon reported actually happened, the Public Prosecutor said on Thursday, NOS reports.

The Public Prosecutor launched an investigation early last year, after Kroon reported the violent incident to then Commander of the Armed Forces Tom Middendorp. Defense also launched an internal investigation, at the Prosecutor's request.  

In February of this year, Kroon told Dutch media that he was kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2007 - without his commanders knowing about it. "During this short imprisonment I was harshly questioned, assaulted and severely humiliated. I was released at some point. Why is still not entirely clear to me", Kroon said to newspaper AD. A few weeks later he ran into his abductor unexpectedly and killed him, he said. "It was 'him or me' at that moment. I reached for my weapon on reflex and fired my entire magazine empty on the man's body." 

The investigations by the Public Prosecutor and by military intelligence service MIVD did not lead to a confirmation or denial of that account, the Prosecutor said on Thursday. The Prosecutor stressed that Kroon never had the status of suspect during the investigations, and that no signs of criminal offenses were found.

A further investigation in the Netherlands and Afghanistan does not make sense at this time, because the Prosecutor considers it very unlikely that new information will be found. But as it is not impossible that new information may surface, the case is not definitely closed. 

Kroon telling the media about events in Afghanistan led to annoyance and resentment among his colleagues. Two MIVD workers felt that his revelations put their lives in danger. 

Minister Ank Bijleveld of Defense is pleased that the Public Prosecutor has concluded its investigation into this "upsetting affair that has only losers", according to NOS. She will soon talk to Kroon about what the outcome of the investigation means "and how it should continue now". She also pointed out that the Prosecutor did not dismiss the case, but stopped it for the time being. 

Kroon was awarded the Military Willems-Orde in 2011. He will not lose this award, the Minister said. "Kroon's heroic deeds are separate from this."