Special investigator appointed by Australian PM to prosecute Afghanistan war crimes

Wang Xinjuan
2020-11-12 19:10:41

CANBERRA, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appointed a special investigator to prosecute alleged war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Morrison told reporters on Thursday that there were a "significant number" of incidents that could warrant criminal charges.

It comes after the inspector general of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) handed down the final report from a four-year inquiry into rumors of possible breaches of the laws of armed conflict in Afghanistan to Defence Force Chief Angus Campbell.

Morrison said allegations contained in the report, which he said would be released publicly on Nov. 19 following a redaction process, were "inherently complex."

"Given the likely allegations of serious and possibly criminal misconduct, the matters raised in the inquiry must be assessed, investigated and, where allegations are substantiated, prosecuted in court," he said.

"The Office of the Special Investigator will address the criminal matters made in the inspector general's report and investigate those allegations, gather evidence and, whether appropriate, refer briefs to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration."

The investigator will operate within the Department of Home Affairs.

Additionally, Morrison announced that a panel would be established to drive cultural change within the special forces, which the allegations center on.

"The oversight panel will report directly to the Minister for Defence on the implementation of the inquiry's recommendations and their consideration of any wider implications and actions in response to the inquiry," he said.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has reported several eyewitness accounts of war crimes committed by the special forces in Afghanistan including alleged mass shootings of civilians.


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