UN expert: US failing to properly probe alleged war crimes

A UN human rights expert said Thursday that the United States is failing to properly investigate alleged war crimes committed by its soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although some cases are investigated and lead to prosecutions, others aren't or result in lenient sentences, said Philip Alston, the UN Human Rights Council's independent investigator on extrajudicial killings. "There have been chronic and deplorable accountability failures with respect to policies, practices and conduct that resulted in alleged unlawful killings - including possible war crimes - in the United States' international operations," Alston said in a report dated May 26 and published on a UN Web site. Officials at the US mission in Geneva said they were unable to comment immediately on the report, which is scheduled to be presented to the rights council Wednesday.