Fri, 01 Dec 2023

First Australian charged with war crime of murder in Afghanistan

The Conversation
20 Mar 2023, 18:38 GMT+10

The first arrest has been made following the Brereton inquiry into allegations that Australians committed war crimes in Afghanistan.

Former SAS soldier, Oliver Schulz, 41, has been remanded in custody after his arrest by police in regional NSW.

He is expected to appear in Downing Centre Local Court.

The arrest follows a joint investigation between the Office of the Special Investigator and the Australian Federal Police.

The man is charged with the war crime of murder under the Criminal Code Act. In a joint statement the OSI and the AFP said: "It will be alleged he murdered an Afghan man while deployed in Afghanistan with the Australian Defence Force." The maximum penalty is life in prison.

The OSI was set up in 2021 as part of the response to the Brereton report. The OSI and the police are jointly investigating allegations of criminal offences by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.

The Brereton inquiry into Australian Special Forces' misconduct in Afghanistan reported in 2020. It found "credible information" of 23 incidents in which one or more non-combatants or prisoners of war "were unlawfully killed by or at the direction of members of the Special Operations Task Group, in circumstances which, if accepted by a jury, would be the war crime of murder".

Author: Michelle Grattan - Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra The Conversation

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