Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the country’s Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) announced on Monday that they have arrested a former Australian solider and charged him with one count of War Crime – Murder he allegedly committed in Afghanistan.
“The maximum penalty for the War Crime—Murder offence is life imprisonment,” the AFP and OSI said in a joint-statement, adding that it was the first war crime charge of murder against a serving or former Australian Defence Force member under Australian law.
The man aged 41 has allegedly murdered a man in Afghanistan when he was deployed to the country with the Australian Defence Force.
In November 2020, the Australian Defence Force found in a four-year inquiry that there were “credible evidence” suggesting its elite forces had unlawfully killed 39 “prisoners, farmers or civilians” in Afghanistan between 2009 to 2013.
Following the recommendations of the report, 19 current and former members of Australia’s military were then referred to a special investigator to determine if there was sufficient evidence to prosecute.
The AFP and OSI said today that the two institutions were investigating allegations of the criminal offences and breaches of the Law of Armed Conflict by the Australian forces in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.
More than 39,000 Australian forces, according to the Reuters, participated in the US-led NATO military invasion of Afghanistan and fought against the Taliban. 41 Australian forces were killed in Afghanistan which fell to the Taliban once again in August 2021.