Alleged War Crimes Report Delivered to Australian Defence Chief

Alleged War Crimes Report Delivered to Australian Defence Chief
Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell speaks at a press conference regarding Operation Bushfire Assist in Canberra, Australia on Jan. 5, 2020. (Rohan Thomson/Getty Images)
Caden Pearson

Australia's Defence Force (ADF) Chief Angus Campbell confirmed on Friday that he had received a report into alleged war crimes by Australian special forces troops in Afghanistan.

Campbell said in a statement he intends to speak about the key findings once he has fully read and "reflected on the report."

"Welfare and other support services are available to those affected by the Afghanistan Inquiry," he said.

The inspector-general of the ADF (IGADF) conducted the Afghanistan inquiry in 2016 after rumours and allegations emerged relating to possible breaches of the Law of Armed Conflict by members of the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan over the period from 2005 to 2016, the Defence chief's statement read.

New South Wales judge Paul Brereton has been investigating, on behalf of the IGADF, 55 incidents which include the unlawful killings of non-combatants, News Corp reported.

The report will be handed to Defence Minister Linda Reynolds within days and then to the federal cabinet.

The federal government has promised to release the report amid concerns it could be heavily redacted when it is finally published.

There are also fears the soldiers involved could be denied procedural fairness.

"These reports are troubling and the claims are exactly why this process was set up," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last week. "This is a very serious inquiry, it's done by people who are highly skilled in handling what are very sensitive matters.

"I have no doubt they are very aware of the careful way they need to conduct this inquiry," he added.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said, "You can expect to see a very, very detailed and substantive report."

AAP contributed to this report.