A special prosecutor is set to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Australian elite forces in Afghanistan in Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who spoke of allegations of “serious and possible criminal misconduct,” has appointed the prosecution.
Australian commandos, along with US forces and other Western allies, were deployed to Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Since then, gruesome details have been regularly released about the actions of Australian elite forces, including the shooting of a prisoner to clear space. Save in a helicopter and kill a 6-year-old child in a house raid.
For a long time, the government tried to cover up allegations by whistleblowers, with police investigating journalists reporting the abuses.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of the Australian Armed Forces has spent years investigating what he called “rumours and allegations” of “possible violations of the law of war.” In addition, 55 isolated incidents came to light.
The appointment of a special prosecutor represents a further step in the judicial process and can lead to the prosecution of military or former military personnel.
The possible war crimes committed by Australian troops first came into the public eye when the public broadcaster released ABC files claiming that Australian troops had killed unarmed men and children in Afghanistan.
In response, the police began an investigation into the ABC reporter in question and the producer, because they had obtained classified information. ABC’s head office was also raided.