Australian Special Forces soldiers have been formally accused of committing war crimes while serving in Afghanistan.
News Corp Australia reported recently that several troops have received notices from the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) accusing them of breaching the laws of armed conflict in Afghanistan.
It comes four years after the IGADF launched an investigation into allegations that Special Forces personnel were involved in unlawful killings in Afghanistan.
The notices advise recipients that the IGADF intends to make adverse findings against them, giving them several weeks to respond to the allegations before the report is handed to Angus Campbell, the Chief of the Defence Force, in July.
The final report will make recommendations on what actions should be taken against the accused men, including possible criminal proceedings, as well as recommendations about the culture of the Special Forces.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is conducting a separate investigation into alleged war crimes committed by two Special Forces soldiers, one of who is known only as “Soldier C” while the other is Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) revealed on Wednesday that Soldier C is under investigation for killing an unarmed intellectually disabled Afghan man known only as Ziauddin in 2012.
It is the second killing Soldier C has been implicated in after the ABC in March broadcast helmet camera footage of the soldier – who has since been stood down by the ADF – shooting a different unarmed Afghan man three times while he cowered on the ground.