Australian soldiers reject Afghanistan raid charges

16:14, September 27, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Two of the three former Australian soldiers being prosecuted over a deadly raid in Afghanistan, on Monday strenuously denied the charges leveled against them.

The Director of Military Prosecutions announced on Monday said three former members of the Special Operations Task-force have been charged with a number of offenses, including dangerous and prejudicial conduct and failing to comply with a lawful general order.

One soldier is also facing manslaughter charges.

The charges relate to an incident on February 12, 2009, when six Afghans were killed during a raid targeting an insurgent leader in Uruzgan province if Afghanistan.

Five children were killed in the raid along with a suspected Taliban insurgent. Two more children and two adults were also injured.

Two of the soldiers later on Monday issued a statement, saying they were forced to make split-second decisions when they came under fire.

"We will strenuously defend the charges and we look forward to the opportunity of publicly clearing our reputations, as well as the reputation of the Australian Defense Force," the pair said through law firm Kennedys said in a statement.

Soldiers A and B, who remain anonymous, put blame for the deaths at the feet of the enemy, saying it should not be forgotten the casualties were ultimately caused by the "callous and reckless " act of an insurgent, who chose to fire upon them at close range from within a room known to contain women and children.

According to ABC News, the Director of Military Prosecutions ( DMP) is an independent office that operates outside the Australian Defense Force (ADF) chain of command.

The decision to press charges came after the ADF carried out an operational investigation and referred the incident to the DMP.

"I have decided to charge three former members of the Special Operations Task Group with service offenses arising out of a compound clearance operation conducted on February 12, 2009 in Afghanistan," DMP Brigadier Lyn McDade said in a statement.

"As a result of that compound clearance operation, six people died and up to four people sustained injuries.

"The operation was the subject of an investigation by the ADF Investigative Service, which was subsequently referred to me for consideration in November 2009.

"I requested further investigations be conducted by the ADF Investigative Service and I received the answers to my requests for further information throughout 2010.

"After careful, deliberate and informed consideration of the available evidence, some of which was only received recently, I have decided in accordance with my prosecution policy to charge three former members of the Special Operations Task Group with service offenses.

"I will not make further comment, particularly in relation to the evidence or the merits of the cases, at this time."

Defense Minister Stephen Smith said the ADF has strict rules of engagement and the finest reputation for professional conduct, adding that Brigadier McDade's decision is a matter for the " independent military legal process".

"It is not appropriate for me to comment on the decision of the military prosecutor, the incident itself, or to prejudge in any way the outcome which will be heard before a service tribunal or tribunals," Smith said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Neil James from the Australia Defense Association said the charges are not unexpected.

"This needs to be cleared in an open court," James told ABC News on Monday. "If the charges aren't preferred, then allegations will remain against these soldiers and against the army forever, as we've seen over years with many scurrilous allegations about previous wars."

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • A man wearing high-heel shoes takes part in the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event when men literally walk in women's shoes to raise awareness about ending violence against women, at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Hot Forum Discussion