An evil man is condemned but the hatred that spurred him lives on
Justice must be served for the people of AfghanistanICV welcomes the release of the long-awaited Brereton Report and urges timely prosecution of the alleged perpetrators. It has taken many years to get to this point, a watershed moment no doubt in Australia’s military history, but justice for the families of the victims will only be fulfilled when those accused of these heinous crimes are prosecuted. The ICV has consulted the leaders of its Afghan member societies and whilst having confidence in the Australian justice system, they were anxious that every effort must be made, and no expense spared, to bring the accused to trial in the shortest possible timeframe. Sharing those concerns, ICV President Mohamed Mohideen said “It is true that justice delayed is justice denied. The victims have families that have lost their son, husband or father. They are still grieving.” Beyond the horrific findings of the 39 alleged murders at the hands of Australian soldiers, we must ask why the warning signs were ignored. We must ask how the culture of covering up such behaviour was allowed to fester, where was the accountability? How did the chain of command break down so badly? “How can we be sure that other abuses have not taken place in Afghanistan or other locations where Australian forces have served?” asks Mr Mohideen. “The Australian Government has an obligation to ensure that there are mechanisms to properly handle and investigate complaints and adequate protection is provided for whistle-blowers” continued Mohideen. The leaders of the Afghan member societies believe that the families of the victims should be consulted regarding compensation, and that this process should commence immediately. And like many in the community, they are angered that some of the accused have been allowed to continue serving. When compared with the callous refusal by the Americans and British and others to investigate potential war crimes committed by their forces in Afghanistan, Australia’s response stands out. The Australian Government should strongly encourage our allies to do as we have done. This will go some way to repairing Australia’s international reputation.
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