Investigative reporting from The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes has revealed that the Australian Federal Police have recently visited Afghanistan to collect evidence and witness testimony into numerous incidents alleging war crimes by Australian defence personnel in Afghanistan. The Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) has been following the progress of these investigations.
Rawan Arraf, Director of the ACIJ said:
“We welcome the steps undertaken by the Australian Federal Police and the Inspector-General of Defence to travel to Afghanistan in separate inquiries and speak to witnesses and gather evidence to investigate the allegations of war crimes by Australian forces in Afghanistan. Genuine investigations into war crimes allegations are necessary for the accountability process. Investigations and prosecutions are a fundamental part of the healing process for the victims, their families, the Australian people, the Defence Force and the international community as a whole.”
“Genuine investigations and prosecutions show a willingness to comply with our international obligations and efforts to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law. Failing to engage in this accountability process entrenches the climate of impunity for the crimes committed in Afghanistan. The war in Afghanistan has been devastating to the civilian population with enormous loss and suffering. Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of the violence.”
“Investigations and prosecutions are needed to hold the perpetrators to account. Prosecutions can also act as a powerful deterrent. Australian law recognises war crimes and other international crimes because they are an affront to humanity as whole and we must work to prevent and punish their commission. The Australian Federal Police should refer charges for prosecution.”
“It’s important to note that members of the Australian Defence Force support and spoke out for accountability.”
“The families of the victims continue to suffer. They want answers and demand justice. We support the families in their fight for justice and accountability. The families of the victims must also be adequately and justly compensated for their loss.”
For media enquiries contact Rawan Arraf on 0450 708 870.
Image: Australian War Memorial