Statement by the Director of Military Prosecutions:
12 February 2009 civilian casualty incident in Afghanistan
I have decided to charge three former members of the Special Operations Task Group with service offences arising out of a compound clearance operation conducted on 12 February 2009 in Afghanistan.
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 Australian Defence Force Investigative Service, which was subsequently referred to me for consideration in November 2009.
I requested further investigations be conducted by the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service and I received the answers to my requests for further information throughout 2010.
On 19 July 2010, I invited the Vice Chief of the Defence, a superior authority, to represent to me under section 5A of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 the Defence Force’s interest in relation to charges being considered by me.
On 1 September 2010, I received a response from the Vice Chief of the Defence Force representing the Defence Force’s interest in relation to charges being considered by me.
After careful, deliberate and informed consideration of the available evidence, some of which was only received recently, and the representations to me made pursuant to s 5A of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982, I have decided in accordance with my prosecution policy to charge three former member of the Special Operations Task Group with service offences.
The accused persons will be charged with various service offences, including manslaughter, dangerous conduct, failing to comply with a lawful general order and prejudicial conduct.
I will not make further comment, particularly in relation to the evidence or the merits of the cases, at this time.
Brigadier Lyn McDade
Director of Military Prosecutions
Defence Media Liaison: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664