Senior ‘war crimes’ investigators named

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.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

10 thoughts on “Senior ‘war crimes’ investigators named

  • 06/01/2021 at 2:36 pm
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    It will be very interesting to discover how these 3 civvies are going to navigate their way through the minefield of the Services. Firstly they will need to learn to understand the language of Service. Overcome the natural reticence of Service people to talk about their Service to civvies and then try to understand that “Service Mateship” will make it almost impossible to learn any truths.

    Reply
  • 28/12/2020 at 5:25 pm
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    I have been investigating criminal and numerous matters since discharged from the Military Police during 1990. I am unable to relate to the method applied by our Government system, pertaining to the so called special investigators. Indeed a search for the truth and evidence surrounding any investigation, committed in a war torn country should be conducted on the ground, not in a lawyers office. Assumptions, hearsay, biased opinions etc is not a fair and justified investigation concerning the alleged SAS soldiers involved. The commanding officers and politicians playing there part in the game, should indeed take into consideration the mental stress and condition of those soldiers minds after been ordered to fight another persons war, day after day, year after year. Indeed they are not key board warriors as per the outside onlookers are. Realistically, SAS are trained to kill the enemy, they are not walking around civilian street wearing a night watchman security uniform.

    Reply
  • 27/12/2020 at 2:03 pm
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    Any Investigator With Zero Military Background, & at Least Active Service, should be disqualified from any Investigating, Commission.
    What Lamen People FAIL to take into consideration:- is there is “NO” book on Life in the confines of Military Life, in “Peace” as there is “NO” Book on life in “ACtive Service” & if there was neither book would relate to the Other!
    A Military Person:- Goes without SO much inService to their Country, that would have 99% of People soiling their Pants. – Any Member of our ADF deserves the Utmost Respect from firstly the Politicians, who choose their course of employment, Often under Duress Conditions, & also by the Public & Country who they Protect.

    Reply
  • 27/12/2020 at 12:21 pm
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    40 years in Qld Police? So, he joined in 1980 when Joh and Russ Hinze were still running the show. Perfect for an Integrity Commission.

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  • 27/12/2020 at 11:51 am
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    Given Chris Moraitis’ full time job as current Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department in Canberra and Mark Weinberg’s full time job as judge of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria…..it appears that Ross Barnett with some allocated lower level staff [from where ?] will be doing the majority of the leg work
    Barnett was Queensland’s first Racing Integrity Commissioner and a former Deputy Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service.

    Reply
  • 27/12/2020 at 10:36 am
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    So zero military experience between them?
    I wonder if any of them have ever actually been to Afghanistan?
    Fairly obviously an outcome has already been ordained.

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    • 27/12/2020 at 11:38 am
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      When the ICC is mentioned one can see the outcome is preordained but, come to think of it as the CDF and CofA have already passed judgement it seems to me that any further investigation is an overkill, unless of course there is a finding of no case to answer….

      Reply
  • 27/12/2020 at 10:35 am
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    Not one of them from West Australia; how amazingly predictable. The truth will be buried by this group of eastern states biased Government appointees who are only seeking to make a name for themselves out of these investigations – no doubt about it. What were these gentlemen doing whilst at university and receiving their discipline in life? Methinks judging by their ages that they were probably part of the anti war movement, fairly common traits amongst university students of the time!!!

    Reply
    • 27/12/2020 at 10:59 am
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      Playing devils advocate here, why should they be from West Australia?

      Its Commonwealth and Defence Law that’s been breached (allegedly) and last I heard the soldiers under investigation were members of the Australian Defence Force not the local Perth Defence League.

      That mincing nonce you have in charge of WA right now might have convinced you that you’re not part of Australia anymore but I got bad news for you bud.

      Reply
  • 27/12/2020 at 9:10 am
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    Queensland Police and a public servant……..rest easy men they won’t find a damn thing, not even their own underwear.

    Reply

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