A United States army soldier has been charged with premeditated murder in the deaths of two civilians during the Iraq war.

Sergeant Michael Barbera was charged over the deaths of two Iraqis near the village of As Sadah in Diyala province on March 6, 2007, the army said on Saturday.

Officials said Barbera was currently assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. They said Barbera is not in pre-trial confinement, but was awaiting a transfer to the Washington state base.

While Barbera has been charged, the next step is an Article 32 investigation which decides if he should be court martialed. No date has been scheduled for the investigation.

Source: AP