Friday, August 18, 2017

Suing for justice

In August 2010, NZ SAS soldiers murdered six civilians in a revenge raid in Afghanistan. When the raid was exposed, the government denied everything and refused to investigate. But now, their victims are going to court to force an inquiry:

The government was "unlawful", "unreasonable" and "in breach of natural justice" in its decision not to hold an inquiry into claims SAS troops killed Afghan civilians in 2010, say lawyers for the victims.

This morning lawyers Deborah Manning, Rodney Harrison QC and Richard McLeod announced they had filed an application for a Judicial Review in the High Court at Wellington, in response to the government's stance on the alleged incident.


They are seeking a Judicial Review under the Defence Act 1990, the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 in the matter of "decisions not to investigate alleged wrongdoing on the part of the New Zealand Defence Force in Afghanistan".

They revealed they were acting on behalf of three applicants, made up of groups of villagers from the area where the event - Operation Burnham - occurred.

I have no idea how strong their case is, but I wish them luck. The SAS's actions raise serious questions of war crimes, torture, and civilian control of the military. Allegations like this should not be ignored or swept under the rug to protect the "reputation" of the SAS or NZDF. To the contrary, it is the investigation and punishment of war criminals which protects those institutions, and our country. We need an inquiry, and people shouldn't have to go to court to try and get one.