The findings of the Brereton Report into war crimes allegedly committed by Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016 are contemptible.
The findings are that 39 Afghanis were allegedly murdered by some 25 ADF and Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) soldiers. However, soldiers in war zones are permitted to use deadly force when engaging the enemy.
International Humanitarian Law
However, the rules of war, now known as International Humanitarian Law (IHL), sets out what a combatant can and cannot do in various combat situations. The Geneva Convention (1949) ratified by 196 countries supplies the legal framework for the IHL. The allegations if proven amount to war crimes as those killed were unarmed-non-combatants detained by SASR.
Those suspected of being involved face either a military court under the Defence Force Discipline Act (1982) or if a civilian route is adopted under the Crimes Act (1914) (Cth). In the former, the Director of Military Prosecutions would prosecute and in the latter, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
Criminal Trials in Perth
Any trials could potentially take place in any one of the State’s and Territories. However, the SASR’s home base is here in Perth so there is some chance any criminal trials may take place right here.