SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia will consider whether there is enough evidence to lodge prosecutions against 19 current and former special forces soldiers after a report said there was credible information that 39 Afghan prisoners and civilians were unlawfully killed.
The following outlines how Australia will consider criminal prosecutions:
SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR TO BE APPOINTED
Ahead of the release of the report, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week said a special investigator will be appointed.
Australia’s most senior military commander on Thursday said the 19 people recommended for possible prosecution will be referred to this special investor.
Once appointed, Morrison said the special investigator will gather evidence.
“There is a significant number of incidents or issues to be investigated further and that investigation will be inherently complex,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
“The investigation will require cooperation with international agencies and the evaluation of large amounts of material.”
The office of the special investigator is expected to be operational next year, Morrison said.
EVIDENCE PASSED TO DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
Once evidence is gathered, Morrison said, it will be passed onto Australia’s Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to determined whether charges are bought.
Morrison said it is too soon to determine if or when charges will be laid.
LOCAL PROSECUTIONS WOULD AVOID INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has said that Canberra has been advised that if local prosecutions went ahead it would negate charges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Michael Perry
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