Australian special forces suspected of 39 unlawful killings in Afghanistan
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As a result, Campbell said 19 current and former members of Australia’s military will be referred to a soon-to-be appointed special investigator to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to prosecute.
Australia’s Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said last week that Canberra had been advised that local prosecution would negate charges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had earlier warned the report would include “difficult and hard news for Australians,” but few expected some of the most shocking revelations.
While the report was heavily redacted, it included allegations that senior special forces personnel ordered the killing of unarmed Afghans.
“There is credible information that junior soldiers were required by their patrol commanders to shoot a prisoner, in order to achieve the soldier’s first kill, in a practice that was known as ‘blooding’,” the report read.
Once a person had been killed, those allegedly responsible would stage a fight scene with foreign weapons or equipment to justify their action, the report concluded.
The actions did not immediately come to light due to what the report concluded was a culture of secrecy and compartmentalisation in which information was kept and controlled within patrols.
The Australian report recommended Canberra should compensate victims’ families even without a successful prosecution.
Morrison spoke with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ahead of the report’s release, a source familiar with the conversation said.
Australia has had troops in Afghanistan since 2002 as part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Taliban militia.