Australian military releases investigation report on Australian soldiers’ suspected involvement in killing prisoners and civilians

The Australian military recently released an investigation report on its troops in Afghanistan, confirming that Australian soldiers were suspected of being involved in the killing of prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan. This incident has caused social shock and widespread criticism in Australia. The Australian government claims that it will pursue the responsibility of those involved, but many analysts are worried about whether the accountability can be implemented. < / P > < p > an investigation report released by the Australian military recently confirmed that 25 Australian soldiers were suspected to be involved in 23 murders of prisoners and civilians. In recent days, Australian politicians and media have expressed criticism and condemnation. Australian media generally believe that there are many deep-seated problems behind the suspected war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, such as the failure of military level supervision, concealment and so on. < / P > < p > according to a report released on November 19 by the office of the inspector general of the Australian Defense Forces, a four-year investigation has been conducted into whether Australian soldiers who were on duty in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2016 were suspected of war crimes. The investigation found that during their stay in Afghanistan, 25 active duty and former Special Forces soldiers were suspected of participating in 23 illegal killing incidents in Afghanistan and covering up these crimes. In these incidents, a total of 39 innocent civilians and prisoners were killed and another two were maltreated. < / P > < p > rumors and accusations about the illegal killing of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan have a long history. Under the pressure of public opinion, the inspector general of the Australian Defense Forces has officially launched an investigation into these accusations since 2016. The report, released recently, is the first to admit that soldiers have committed maltreatment in Afghanistan. < / P > < p > according to the report, the investigators conducted 510 interviews with 423 witnesses and reviewed more than 20000 documents and 25000 pictures. The report was completed by the Australian Army Reserve major general, judge Paul Britton of New South Wales. < / P > < p > the Australian media also disclosed a 2016 report written by defense consultant Samantha kroppworth. It was this report that forced the military to launch a formal investigation. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the report contains many shocking findings, including young soldiers shooting prisoners at the command’s request to complete their first shooting training, special forces killing a 14-year-old boy, shooting a 35 year old father and his 6-year-old son sleeping in a house, and shooting prisoners because of insufficient helicopter space, etc. < / P > < p > in view of the seriousness of the problem, Angus Campbell, commander of the Australian Defense Forces, had to express his unreserved apology to the Afghan people for the actions of Australian soldiers and to the Australian public for war crimes. < / P > < p > in 2001, the United States launched the war in Afghanistan. As a part of the US led military alliance, Australia has maintained a military presence in post-war Afghanistan. According to the report, some of the suspected crimes occurred in 2009 and 2010, most in 2012 and 2013. However, these abominable acts were not reported at the first time, but covered up for a long time. < / P > < p > the report found that Australian special forces soldiers placed weapons or radio equipment beside the victims as evidence that the victims were “legitimate targets”. The report points out that these crimes occur because there is an unrestrained “warrior culture” in the Australian army. Some soldiers see themselves as special beings beyond the law. “Sergeant groups that spread this culture” and domestic commanders who failed to contain the “warrior culture” bear “substantial indirect responsibility” for these crimes. < / P > < p > in his 2016 report, Kropp watts pointed out that the causes of the scandal included the lack of effective leadership mechanisms and adequate reporting channels within the special forces, which could have allowed soldiers to report war crimes without fear of retaliation. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Kropp watts report records the testimony of several special forces insiders that war crimes are normalized among some soldiers, while others who oppose such bad practices are marginalized. < / P > < p > Australian Army lieutenant general burr said: “I am deeply concerned that some soldiers do not come forward to report when they see or know the violence, or feel that it is safe to do so.” < / P > < p > the report has a great shock and impact on the Australian military. The second squadron of the special air service regiment was disbanded because it was “related to suspected serious criminal activities”. The report also recommends that the Australian federal police conduct criminal investigations into 19 of the 25 persons involved. Campbell said the soldiers involved will be examined case by case. < / P > < p > a recent front page article in the Australian pointed out that this was “a shameful page in the military history of Australia”. According to the Australian financial review, Australian Defense Minister Reynolds said that the facts shown in the report made her feel unwell and that she saw “the failure of leadership at multiple levels of the Australian military”. < / P > < p > former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in a statement recently that the actions described in the report are in flagrant violation of Australia’s solemn legal obligations under the Geneva Convention and relevant laws. Any soldier who committed war crimes in Afghanistan and anyone who tried to cover up these crimes must be brought to justice, and the families of the victims must be compensated. < / P > < p > Australian Prime Minister Morrison said that he is deeply troubled and disturbed by the actions of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, and the cases involved will be handled in accordance with Australian law and judicial system. He has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the matter. However, some Australian legal experts said, “the relevant criminal prosecution process will be quite complex, and whether accountability can be implemented remains questionable.” < / P > < p > the Australian financial review published an article saying that unless the government decides to amend the evidence law, it will be difficult for prosecutors to obtain any basis for conviction from the investigation report because the law stipulates that third-party evidence cannot be used for filing a case. David Leitz, director of the military and Security Law Research Center at the Australian National University, pointed out that the purpose of the Britton investigation is to investigate continuing rumors and allegations about the conduct of special forces soldiers, rather than to collect evidence that can be used in criminal trials. As a result, police investigations can take years before possible criminal proceedings. In an interview with the Australian Associated Press, Melanie O’Brien, an international jurist at the University of Western Australia, said that collecting evidence would be the biggest challenge, especially in conflict areas where it would be particularly difficult to collect evidence of crimes committed outside Australia. In addition, because ordinary people do not know the details of military activities, it may be difficult to convict by jury and can only be tried by a judge alone, which will also increase the complexity of the case. < / P > < p > according to Australian media reports, in addition to the Australian Army, the US and British forces in the coalition forces in Afghanistan are also facing charges of illegal killing, but the relevant cases are usually not settled. According to the Australian financial review, an appeal involving a British marine soldier for war crimes ended with the acquittal of the defendant, despite his own admission of violation of the Geneva Convention.