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: 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...
Today marks International Justice Day, where over 22 years ago, a coalition of hundreds of civil society and victims’ organisations, human rights defenders, regional organisations and states, came together in Rome to support a process which led to the adoption of the...
3 July 2020 The Australian Centre for International Justice has condemned the referral, by the Australian Federal Police, of a brief of evidence to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP), to consider laying charges against journalist Dan Oakes, for...
30 April 2020 Australian human rights organisations have written to the Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Attorney-General, urging the Australian government to publicly condemn the attacks against the International Criminal Court (ICC) by United...
17 March 2020 Following an ABC investigation into new allegations of war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan, revealed last night by the Four Corners report ‘Killing Field’, Director of the Australian Centre for International Justice, Ms Rawan Arraf...
For the first time, the Australian Centre for International Justice was represented at the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) meeting in its 18th session in The Hague, Netherlands at the World Forum...
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.