First Aussie soldier arrested for war crimes
A former SAS trooper has been arrested by Australian Federal Police near Goulburn, NSW, in relation to alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan.
A joint investigation between the Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) and the AFP has today resulted in the arrest of a New South Wales man.
It is expected he will be charged with one count of War Crime—Murder under subsection 268.70(1) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
Investigators arrested the man, 41, in regional NSW this morning and he is expected to appear in a NSW Local Court later today, Monday 20 March 2023.
It will be alleged he murdered an Afghan man while deployed to Afghanistan with the Australian Defence Force.
The maximum penalty for a War Crime—Murder offence is life imprisonment.
OSI and AFP are working together to investigate allegations of criminal offences under Australian law related to breaches of the Laws of Armed Conflict by Australian Defence Force personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.
A joint statement from OSI and AFP said that as the matter will be before the court and the investigation is ongoing, no further comment will be made.
However, while the ABC has already identified a soldier by name and photograph as being the man arrested, CONTACT will refrain from naming him until the details are officially confirmed.
That said, the ABC says he is the soldier shown in an ABC 4 Corners episode allegedly shooting an unarmed man in a wheat field.
If it is the man identified by the ABC, they say he was awarded a Commendation for Gallantry for his service in Afghanistan.
The OSI was established in 2021 as one element of the Australian government’s response to the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force’s Afghanistan Inquiry report – AKA, the Brereton report.
39 thoughts on “First Aussie soldier arrested for war crimes”
When I was in the infantry, ROE was pretty clear. It didn’t matter what the OPFOR did, once they were in custody they were considered a POW and were afforded all the rights as outlined by the Geneva Convention. Having watched the video, it’s pretty clear that despite whatever actions previously taken by the deceased in the AO, he was in fact being compliant at the time of being shot. He had been subdued by a MWD and was being covered by the accused. Taking the time to ask other oppo’s if he should kill the prisoner and then proceed to do so is an illegal act. Some of the comments here talk about hoping for a fair trial for the accused, but where was the fair trial for the deceased? From what I understand, the deceased was a young man who was a bit slow on the uptake mentally (according to his family), and did nothing more than run from the approaching soldiers when he saw them.
The Brereton Report has done a remarkable inquiry which shields the chain of command in terms of operational awareness, and makes no mention of the political process that led to the deployment of such soldiers in Afghanistan in the first place.
The question is, WHO passed on the footage to the journalist in the first place. Obviously someone very pissed off in his patrol gp.
Civilians reporting war crimes…..pogo OFFICERS trying to hang a soldier to make the Army look good!
If these people above had gone to war them selves,they may realize a few things!
I did a tour to Sarawak and 2 to Vietnam. In the heat of battle when you are hyped up ,One can do things one should not do! Thank god ,we did not have any slimy Berethons running around in the actions I have been in!
ALL this is complete political and should be scrapped!
The man who was said to be shot in the back ,was a enemy……..WELL DONE THAT SOLDIER!
He’s a modern day Breaker Morant.
All the toads who have received commendations, powerful jobs in government and of course bravery medals because of the War in Afghanistan, and who were in charge (the whole chain of command) of the soldier at the time are completely innocent – oh yeah, …right? So nobody higher than a Corporal was in charge of this soldier when he committed this crime? Guys what happened to leadership, what happened to Duty of Care or Rules of Engagement. Why have leadership in the Army if nobody will take responsibility for the soldiers they send to war; why should the soldiers even go when you have political snakes like Brereton and the ABC journos prepared to conduct witch hunts?
The whole business seems to smack of Canberra Cronyism and Politicians Blame Game for the outcome of the war in Afghanistan.
WAR is the bloody crime – NOT the troopers.
Agree totally mate…but this is typical of the leadership (?), or more importantly, lack thereof from the CDF and his cronies within Government and Defence. They are happy to send these soldiers into harms way, but will not support them when it’s needed, they simply look for ways to cover their butt.
I have no military experience, so perhaps I speak out of turn, but this news made me incredibly angry. Australia is saying to our men in uniform, go out and put your lives on the line, and then come home to be judged by “experts” who have never seen action in their lives. If I was on the jury for this man, he would have nothing to worry about.
As one with Vietnam jungle experience, I totally agree, Kenneth
The videos spoke for themselves. The ROE were clear, why the heck was an operator asking what to do with a captured suspect? Just unprofessional. Further, back in like 2011, the unit was really split. A heap of the guys were gong chasing. Plain and simple. And they did stuff that caused unescessary risk….tether the goat with no prep/plan to control the battle space on the way back. Just gong chasing. Hope this is the start of a clean up. Those that know, know. There are more that need to be held accountable.
OK, so this soldier did ‘an act;. Where was his Government direction that instigated said ‘act’ that benefited Australia. Oh, it didn’t exist? So, where was the Defence direction that instigated how we were to withdrawal from Afghanistan? Oh, that didn’t exist either? What about the LAND force objective for exiting the theater – OH! F*CK ME – that didn’t exist either????
The issue is not with the soldier. It’s with his CoC that could not provide direction as he could not identify WTF they wanted.
Let us hope the CoC is held responsible, not the soldier. This is NOT a case of a soldier going rogue, but one of interpreting very loose and shi*thouse direction to the best of his (incorrect, apparently) assumption.
No point speculating about any of this,what you’ve been shown and what you KNOW are two different things. The AFP believe they have enough to press charges,so what? They now have to prove it,he is innocent until then. If they do prove it then he deserves whatever punishment that may be given. ROE and the Laws of Armed Conflict exist for a reason,you don’t have to like them but as Professional Soldiers you will abide by them,or get another job.
Ok where is the defence leadership? The report that stated this process was inadequate and made scant contact with key leaders in the field. These guys and their families have already been through hell. Assumed guilty from the outset by media reporting instead of presumption of innocence until proven guilty is un Australian, inhumane and wrong. These guys are in a war zone doing their governments bidding time after time. 26 accused and 1 charged. Where is the justice? My thoughts are with him and his family. He was in combat fighting a theat that has no rules or constraints in how he fights. This is wrong. Shame on the AFP and Australian Government
I feel deeply sorry for this Australian Soldier.
Armchair Historians are one thing.
Armchair Moralists are another.
I would trust the judgement of an Aussie Rifle Platoon
The Judgement of a NWO Kangaroo Court, bespeckled with Flag Rank Defence likspittles….
I believe Our fabled Anzacs, spin in their graves.
Dear General Howsyafather….
When did NWO advancement and Knighthoods [and leftard pat’s on the back],
become more important than a Digger?
20 March 2023
about 3:40 PM
Resident of Socialist Chookland.
When the powers that be start charging bomber pilots and artillery crews with war crimes for killing civilians, then i might start thinking that some of our people should be charged also. Until then the so-called rules of war and rules of engagement do nothing except make our soldiers fight with one hand tied behind their backs. When a bloody academic who has never served in a theatre of war, and is tasked to run an investigation into our brave soldiers by some politician whose most dangerous journey was to the local shop to get the papers and a litre of milk, the whole bloody lot should be binned!!!
As for the bleeding hearts and the enemy that want to charge our brave soldiers with all sorts of war crimes, until they are fighting under the Geneva Convention we should be using the same rules as the enemy, so that we are not dis-advantaged by comparison. No rules, Go for it!!!
In Vietnam in 1965/66 we were forbidden to speak to some journalists because they were printing rubbish that wasn’t even close to the truth. Apparently that applies even more today, particularly if the ABC are involved.
Maybe some smartarse journo should go back in time and look at what the Prime Minister and government of the day “ordered” to bomb Dilli in Timor to remove the Japanese where they killed half the people of Dilli. Where were the
War correspondents and Journalists then when this was well known by many.
No War Crime charges then. Things happen on a battlefield that “happen”. I am sure many who have served will support our brave soldiers who are being made scapegoats for those higher up.
The problem with the ABC is that they don’t need to talk to anyone…they’ll just make it up!
I have no problem at all with the legal process being followed in full, and if they feel they have grounds to charge and arrest him, then along as the rule of law is being followed then so be it.
The problem is that he has already been tried and convicted by the media, without being able to mount a defence. The fact that they publicly aired video surely has to impacted his ability to get a fair trial, and will no doubt be part of his defence.
Proof, the proof of murder is not going to be easy – it has to rely on the testimony of others who were there. Given the distortion of time there will be many obstacles in the way of Beyond Reasonable Doubt. At least the accused now knows it’s on. What will be unfair is the amount of money, the cost of fighting the charge.
I hope the SAS Association starts up a GoFundMe page for the Accused. More than happy to give some of my pension to it.
I have no problem with this apart that it has smeared a lot of innocent soldiers for way too long. It is about time that this is dealt with legally and people just remember that he is innocent until proven guilty. Cheers!
And hopefully when it is all over the troopers affected can rip the ABC and others a new anus via Defamation claims.
Sadly, a soldiers record, deployment numbers, unit etc don’t make up for what we all saw on video. There is no excuse for dropping a bloke on his back and under guard. None. We are supposed to hold ourselves to a much higher standard than ‘them’. I’d defend any ADF member against baseless accusations, getter press and handwringing crybabies, I don’t do hearsay or he said/she said bollocks like we see come out of the ABC and other media but some things are inexcusable, and I don’t care who it is and what unit they are from or what medals they earnt. There are lines you don’t cross. And what we saw on that video crossed a very big one.
That other idiot and his now very public podcast doesn’t help matters either.
So in your “expert opinion” the accused is Guilty? I hope he gets better treatment in court.
It will be interesting to see if the evidence in this case is sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he is guilty of murder.
“However, while the ABC has already identified a soldier by name and photograph as being the man arrested, CONTACT will refrain from naming him until the details are officially confirmed.”
An admirable display of journalistic ethics, should be standard practice.
I was of the belief that the Brereton Report, compiled by a Justice, included hearsay and non-substantiated facts, which are inadmissible in a Court of Law. This was as a result of a sociologists report, which was completely compiled of hearsay and inadmissible evidence. Since then we have a report from the Plastic Fantastic, who together with a infantile new legal office of investigation, can do no wrong according to the Defense Force Chief. A pity he was not as robust about getting sex predators out of the ADF.
The camera doesn’t lie.
Where’s the rest of the video? It shows a very brief section of what happened.
Right. A camera doesnt lie however the way it is interprupted can and is too often done. The camera is not privy to what orders the Diggers are under and who the targets are nor what they have done or wanted for. When dose an act of war become a civil crime especially when they do not themselve accept the rules of war. who determines when a soldier commits an actual crime. Certainly those pogo pricks sitting on their arse in a safe post with no knowledge should never have the right to judge combat proven Digger
These days it is hard to believe anything you see as a picture or a movie, taken with a camera, is what it seems. With Photo Shop and various other computer programs a picture can be made look like what the editor of that image wants. You cannot say that a camera does not lie, any more. Perhaps the camera dosen’t lie, but the process between the camera taking the picture and the published result leaves a lot to be desired.
ABC shows all of what 20 seconds, I wonder what is on the recording a minute before or 5 minutes before.
Yes, while senior ADF officers are quick to pursue action against decorated veterans they have failed badly on acting against sex offenders and bullies, leaving the ADF exposed to litigation for decades to come!
So this insurgent reporting our movements on the radio he had was a non combatant was he ?
He got exactly what he deserved .
He was flat on his back unarmed and posing no resistance luckily your keyboard won’t be posing a threat to anyone anytime soon.
Was this his first deployment or one of many too close together?
We’ve all seen the video the rules of War are what differentiates us from the people we wage war against, if we lose sight of that we are no better than them.
Exactly! He may very well have been a combatant but he wasn’t a threat when he was killed.