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Sunday, November 22, 2020, 13:58
Body cameras eyed for Aussie soldiers after war crimes inquiry
By Xinhua
Sunday, November 22, 2020, 13:58 By Xinhua

Chief of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) General Angus Campbell delivers the findings from the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry, in Canberra on Nov 19, 2020. (MICK TASIKAS / POOL / AFP)

CANBERRA / MELBOURNE - Chief of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Angus Campbell has thrown his support behind mandatory body cameras for soldiers in battle in the wake of a landmark war crimes inquiry.

Chief of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Angus Campbell on Sunday said that introducing body cameras would increase accountability within the special forces serving in Afghanistan after a four-year inquiry found "credible evidence" that Australian soldiers committed 39 unlawful killings in the country between 2005 and 2016.

The inquiry also uncovered a series of cover-ups undertaken by the Australian soldiers.

"We will work through that recommendation (of body cameras). I think it is a very good idea. It creates a degree of objectivity and a capacity for learning, development and record keeping," Campbell told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in his first interview since the report was released on Thursday.

Chief of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Angus Campbell on Sunday said that introducing body cameras would increase accountability within the special forces serving in Afghanistan after a four-year inquiry found "credible evidence" that Australian soldiers committed 39 unlawful killings in the country between 2005 and 2016

"That material would become a digital archive, permanently and securely held so that if claims were to arise, they would be, they would contribute to understanding what may have happened," he said.

ALSO READ: Shame & vindication as Australia digests report of Afghan military killings

The alleged war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan during their military mission have drawn strong reaction from Afghans, who condemned the killings of innocent people.

They asked for more investigations into the issue, the punishment of the perpetrators and compensation from the Australian government to the Afghan victims' families.

The report found that senior commandos forced junior soldiers to kill defenseless captives in order to "blood" them for combat.

The ABC has previously published eyewitness accounts of shootings of unarmed Afghan civilians by Australian special forces soldiers.

The report, which recommended referring 19 current and former soldiers for potential prosecution, caused shame and anger in Australia, a country that usually honors its military history with fervor.

"I see layers of responsibility here," Campbell said. "I'm determined to see deep, comprehensive and enduring change where it is needed."

READ MORE: Aussie forces suspected of 39 unlawful killings in Afghanistan

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has vowed that allegations of war crimes committed by Australian soldiers would be pursued until "justice is indeed served."


With inputs from Reuters

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