Afghanistan Claims Justice for Victims of War Crimes by Australian Troops

The Independent Commission for Human Rights of Afghanistan (CIDHA) demanded that the Australian military involved in the war crimes revealed after an investigation made public by the head of the Armed Forces, General Angus Campbell, be brought to justice. This Kabul-based commission also called for the victims to be compensated. The events occurred between 2009 and 2013 and General Campbell revealed that elite soldiers killed at least 39 civilians and none of these incidents occurred “under the pressure of combat.” Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his intention to prosecute all the soldiers involved and General Campbell apologized for ‘forgiveness from the people of Afghanistan on behalf of the Australian Defense Forces

The report is more than 400 pages long and includes investigations into 23 incidents involving 19 soldiers who violated international combat laws. Investigators provide “credible information” on cases in which newly arrived soldiers shot in cold blood at detained civilians to hang the medal for the first dead. These murders were covered by placing weapons and radios or other objects on the scene to argue that they were enemies killed in combat. Campbell denounced this “self-centered warrior culture” driven by some elements of his special forces. This investigation carried out by the Army itself is the result of years of work, interviews with more than 400 witnesses and the review of thousands of documents.

Australian media such as ABC have long denounced the excesses of their forces on the Afghan board and extrajudicial executions. Tribal leaders from Uruzgan, a province where the elite forces accused of war crimes operated, such as Abdul Manan demanded “that the weight of justice fall on those who committed these acts because we cannot judge them in Afghanistan. They are already in Australia and must pay for their crimes there. Abdul Manan was detained six times by the Australians, as he revealed to the AP agency, on charges of supporting the Taliban.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) also opened an investigation in March into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in Afghanistan since May 2003 by the Taliban, the Afghan security force and the US military and intelligence. Washington rejected the ICC’s decision, but cannot stop the investigation.

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