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
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...
Joint Media Release: Human rights groups call on Australia to provide full, effective and prompt reparation to Afghan victims
5 August 2021 Human rights organisations in Afghanistan and Australia have written to the Australian government regarding the recommendations on compensation set out in the report of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry, led by...
Joint Media Release: Afghan and Australian human rights groups welcome release of the Brereton Afghanistan Inquiry
20 November 2020 Afghan and Australian human rights organisations have welcomed the release of the report of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan (IGADF) Inquiry, led by Justice Paul Brereton, into alleged war crimes by Australian special...
Media Release: The establishment of the Office of the Special Investigator is welcome and should be made permanent
12 November 2020 The Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) welcomes the establishment of the Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) by the Australian Government. In anticipation of the release of a redacted version of the report of the Afghanistan...
Joint Media Release: Afghan, Australian and international human rights and legal organisations call for public release of Justice Brereton’s Afghanistan Inquiry report
30 October 2020 Today, over 20 Afghan, Australian and international human rights and legal organisations wrote to the Assistant Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force, Major General Justice Paul Brereton, urging him to commit to releasing the report of the...
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