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19.11.2020 Australian Forces Suspected of Killing 39 Locals in Afghanistan
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KABUL, Afghanistan – At least 19 current and former Australian soldiers
will be referred for potential criminal prosecution for allegedly killing
39 Afghan locals, Canberra said Thursday, the majority of whom had been
unarmed and captured.

Detailing the findings of the long-awaited inquiry into the conduct of
Special Forces personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016, Australia’s
General Angus John Campbell said there was credible information of 39
unlawful killings by 25 Australian Special Forces personnel in 23 separate
incidents, as TOLOnews reported.

All of those kills were outside the “heat of battle”, Campbell said.
“These findings allege the most serious breaches of military conduct and
professional values.”

“The unlawful killing, of civilians and prisoners is never acceptable,” he
added.

According to reports, majority of those killed – including prisoners,
farmers and Afghan locals – were initially kept hostage; and therefore,
are protected under international law.  

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, said the report.

Australia’s Minister for Defense Linda Reynolds said last week that
Canberra had been advised that local prosecution would negate charges at
the International Criminal Court at The Hague. 


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