Australia to prosecute war crimes alleged in upcoming report

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Nov. 12 (UPI) — Australia’s government is preparing to release a report on the conduct of special forces during the conflict in Afghanistan — and will appoint a special investigator to prosecute allegations of war crimes by Australian soldiers.

Prime minister Scott Morrison said the report would likely force Australians to “deal with honest and brutal truths where expectations and standards may not have been met.”

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“This will be difficult and hard news for Australians, I can assure you,” Morrison said. “It is going to very difficult for our serving community and our veteran community. It is going to be difficult for all of us, but what we are seeking to do as a government, I think what we have to do as a country, is to absorb this in a way that enables us to uphold the integrity of our justice system, uphold the integrity of our defence forces.”

The report is due to be released next week.

The majority of allegations remain unknown, but some allegations — including unlawful killings of Afghan civilians and mistreatment of prisoners of war — have been previously reported by Australian media.

“Given the likely allegations of serious and possibly criminal misconduct, the matters raised in the inquiry must be assessed, investigated and, where allegations are substantiated, prosecuted in court,” Morrison said.

The Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force has been investigating allegations of unlawful killings and other possible breaches of international law since 2016.