The Green Party strongly condemns the revelation of alleged war crimes by the Australian Defence Force in Afghanistan, with an alleged unlawful killing of 39 people by 25 Special Forces personnel.
“My thoughts go to the Afghani community and the families affected by these alleged unlawful killings”, Green Party spokesperson on Defence Golriz Ghahraman said today.
“These revelations compound my relief that last term we worked with Government to ensure New Zealand troops withdrew from what began as America’s illegal war in Afghanistan.
“What has been alleged in Major General Paul Brereton’s report exposes the true scale of what happens in war zones when operations become increasingly shrouded in secrecy, and toxic cultures are allowed to form unchecked.
“We must be vigilant here in Aotearoa against that culture of impunity in our defence forces. We have an absolute legal and moral duty to investigate, prosecute, and punish military crimes right up the chain of military and political command.
“We know from the recent Burnham report that there were serious concerns with process and communication, which undermined accountability and created an environment for wrong doing that has gone unpunished.
“This resulted in the death of a young girl and a prisoner war being handed over, with a high likelihood that they were tortured.
“Off the back of the Burnham report an expert panel was set up to review the Defence Force’s structures.
“I will be engaging with the new Defence Minister to ensure that this expert panel is appropriately ensuring an improvement to our processes here in New Zealand.
“I will also be enquiring as to whether the top officials operating at the time of bad communication and behaviour have been brought forward for questioning.”