The top three officials in the new Office of the Special Investigator to investigate alleged Australian ‘war crimes’ in Afghanistan have been named.
- Chris Moraitis, the current Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, has been appointed Director-General of the Office of the Special Investigator.
- Mark Weinberg will fill the role of the Special Investigator.
- Ross Barnett has been appointed as the Director of Investigations, supporting the Special Investigator through leadership of investigations.
CAPTION: Chris Moraitis, Mark Weinberg and Ross Barnett – the top appointments to the new Office of the Special Investigator that will examine, investigate and advance ‘war crime’ allegations arising out of the IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry Report.
Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said the Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) would examine the findings of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry Report and beginning work from 4 January 2021.
“The task for these eminent appointees will be challenging and, as the Prime Minister has noted, difficult for Australia,” Mr Dutton said.
“They bring a wealth of experience to the very important work this office will do.
“Their combined wealth of experience will serve the office well in undertaking the significant task ahead.”
Mr Moraitis has worked on a range of challenging issues, including reforms to national security legislation, as well as treaty negotiations and international legal disputes during his career at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Mr Moraitis has considerable experience engaging international bodies, including the International Criminal Court.
“Mr Moraitis is a highly-regarded public servant with significant experience in complex policy and legal matters,” Mr Dutton said.
“He will provide strategic oversight and leadership to the operations of the Office of the Special Investigator.”
Justice Weinberg is a former Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and judge of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Justice Weinberg is recognised for distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly through reforms to criminal law and procedure, to legal education in Victoria and to the administration of justice in Fiji and Norfolk Island.
As Special Investigator he will be responsible for assessing the matters raised by the IGADF Inquiry and, if appropriate, referring briefs of evidence to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
“Justice Weinberg has had a distinguished career and brings a wealth of experience to this very important work,” Mr Dutton said.
Mr Barnett is Queensland’s first Racing Integrity Commissioner and a former Deputy Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service.
Mr Barnett’s experience includes working in major crime and drug squads and has served in senior roles at the National Crime Authority, the Australian Crime Commission and the Queensland Crime Commission.
“For nearly 40 years Mr Barnett was one of the most distinguished officers in the Queensland Police.
“He led the State Crime Command of that service and has considerable criminal-investigative and major-case experience.”
Mr Dutton said Australian Defence Force personnel serve our country with distinction and great sacrifice and their honour and our nation would be best served by ensuring the matters raised in the Afghanistan Inquiry Report are addressed in Australia and in accordance with the rule of law.
- Defence personnel and families affected by the IGADF Inquiry are encouraged to access support services.