Accountability for Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan
Advancing victims’ rights to truth, justice & accountability
© ISAF/John Collins
In November 2020, after a four-year administrative inquiry into allegations of war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan, the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force, led by Justice Brereton, released the report of the inquiry. The release of the report marked a significant milestone in Australia’s ability to confront the credible allegations of crimes and forge a process for individual and collective accountability.
The Australian Centre for International Justice was established anticipating that the domestic investigations and prosecutions of the allegations of war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan will be a pivotal moment in shaping Australia’s approach to an international crimes policy. Our strategic advocacy, policy engagement and collaboration with others, has provided focus on victims’ rights and has had significant impact.
We have been coordinating efforts with human rights groups in Australia and around the world, but particularly in Afghanistan, to bring the critical perspectives, leadership and depth of experience Afghan human rights organisations and advocates have to offer. These efforts included a coordinated media campaign, including a joint call for action, bringing together Afghan, Australian and international human rights organisations. We have brought attention to Afghan human rights organisations to provide expert advice. Our media assistance ensured Afghan voices were reflected in domestic and international media.
The Afghanistan Inquiry Report, years in the making, is a welcome first step. But the real work starts now. Victims’ families have never given up their demands for truth, justice and accountability. It’s imperative for us to work to ensure their rights are respected, and enforced.
The Australian Centre for International Justice is building a strategy that implements our mission and stays true to our values in advocating for victims and victims’ rights. We are working with our partners in Afghanistan to find ways on how best to advocate for Afghan victims and to ensure what will follow is a full and comprehensive accountability process. There is much work ahead.
© ISAF/John Collins
We are grateful for OAK Foundation’s support for and funding of our Afghanistan program.
Latest on Afghanistan
29 November 2022 Two years after the release of the Afghanistan Inquiry’s Report on war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan, the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) has assessed Australia’s response to the report’s findings and...
26 October 2022 Prosecution of war crimes whistleblower David McBride must be dropped The Australian Centre for International Justice and the Human Rights Law Centre are calling for an end to the unjust prosecution of war crimes whistleblower David McBride, as his...
Statement: First arrest concerning allegations of war crimes by special forces in Afghanistan for obstruction and harm to investigator
27 April 2022 Statement: First arrest concerning allegations of war crimes by special forces in Afghanistan for obstruction and harm to investigator The Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) welcomes news of the arrest of an individual arising out of...
6 April 2022 Australia's Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References this week released the final report of its inquiry into Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan. The inquiry was tasked with examining Australia's twenty-year military, diplomatic...
Joint Media Release: One Year after Brereton: Human rights groups say that victims must not be forgotten
19 November 2021 Today marks one year since the release of the Brereton Report into war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan. Human rights groups from Afghanistan and Australia have joined forces to reiterate the need for accountability and redress. The...
8 November 2021 Human rights and legal organisations from around Australia will today tell a Senate Inquiry investigating Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan that the Morrison Government must do more for the people of Afghanistan. The Law Council of Australia, Save...
20 October 2021 On 13 October 2021 ACIJ made a submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee as part of the Committee’s Inquiry into Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan. The Inquiry was established in September 2021 to examine...
Joint Appeal: Open appeal to UN Member States to ensure the adoption of a resolution creating an investigative mechanism on Afghanistan
The Australian Centre for International Justice joins over fifty human rights organisations from around the world in a joint appeal to UN Member States to launch a robust investigative mechanism on Afghanistan when the Human Rights Council meets for its 48th session...
On 3 August 2021, the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ), Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (AHRDO) the Transitional Justice Coordination Group (TJCG) and Conflict Analysis Network (CAN) wrote to the Minister for Defence, the...
Support our Work
The Australian Centre for International Justice fights to hold accountable those responsible for the most serious international crimes. It continues to be an enormous challenge.
We work with survivors of torture, sexual violence, genocide and war to research and develop strategies to fight for justice.
We are Australia’s first specialist legal centre providing strategic advice and representation to people seeking justice and accountability.
We take action against the impunity of those responsible for committing atrocity crimes. We all benefit by supporting communities in Australia and around the world access justice.
We need your support to fight for justice.
Join us to advance international justice in Australia and make a tax-deductible donation to support our work and help us push our projects and litigation.