Saturday, July 20, 2024

Aus Defence Minister pledges to hold officers accountable for war crimes

Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles on Wednesday vowed that military commanders will be held accountable for war crimes in Afghanistan.

Marles had recently said the government would hold Australian Defense Force (ADF) top brass who oversaw the war in Afghanistan responsible for the unlawful killings allegedly committed by the troops, reports Xinhua news agency.

His commitment came a day after after Senator Jacqui Lambie, a former Australian army member, on Tuesday revealed she has referred ADF officers to the International Criminal Court for investigation over war crimes.

A landmark inquiry into allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan in 2020 revealed that it had found credible evidence that Australian special force soldiers murdered 39 civilians and prisoners in the country between 2005 and 2016.

One soldier has been charged by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) with the war crime of murder, with investigations into others ongoing.

Lambie called on the government to hold commanders accountable for the actions of their subordinates.

She said there is “a culture of cover-up” at the highest levels of the ADF.

In response, Marles said the government would “make this right”.

“The Chief of the Defense Force has been pursuing a process in respect of command accountability, consistent with the recommendations of the Brereton Report,” he said.

Before Kabul’s fall to the Taliban in August 2021, Australia maintained an operation of around 400 soldiers in Afghanistan.

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