. Rights groups not optimistic of conviction
. Pakistan is yet to give any official statement on the issue
By Hamid Khan Wazir
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The war crimes committed by Australian soldiers by executing 39 prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan during their military mission have triggered a serious debate whether or not the investigation will result in convictions.
Besides the war crimes report could cause a new conflict between world powers as Russia and China lashed out at Australia for ruthlessly killing innocent Afghan women, children, and men.
However, Pakistan ironically remained tight-lipped on the issue so far.
The human rights organizations and civil society activists are not optimistic about the possible conviction of the culprits owing to the past experience; hence they are planning to hold a protest demonstration in the federal capital to highlight the issue so as justice could be done.
Sources said that there is no guarantee that the investigation would result in convictions; because the testimony provided by some 423 witnesses to the investigation is not admissible in court.
Besides, there is no certainty the tightly knit Special Forces soldiers will give evidence against one another in public trials.
An Australian government report, published on November 19 after a four-year probe, found “credible information” that 25 special forces soldiers unlawfully killed 39 prisoners, farmers, and civilians over several years. More than a dozen soldiers have been dismissed, and the preliminary findings will now be followed up by a special investigator and could result in criminal charges.
The abuses, between 2006 and 2013, were disclosed in a heavily redacted report by the military’s inspector general released on November 19.
The report triggered a shocking wave worldwide and drawn strong reactions from leading countries especially Russia and China.
Zhao Lijian, the most prominent of Beijing’s outspoken diplomats, was referring in the tweet to an Australian inquiry into alleged war crimes by its soldiers in Afghanistan. As Chinese-Australian relations have plummeted this year, Zhao has sharply criticized Australia regarding both its economic dealings and its conduct in Afghanistan.
Russia, too, has cited Afghanistan as an example of what it calls the West’s failings and hypocrisy on the global stage, which triggered a war of words between China and Australian governments.
Pakistan often speaks on the human violations in Afghanistan but on this issue, no formal stamen released hitherto.
It’s a matter of human rights and the world community including Pakistan should raise the issue to punish the wrongdoers in order to curb the recurrence of such inhuman acts.
Afghanistan’s presidential office said on Twitter ahead of the report’s release that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had spoken by telephone with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to express regret over the abuses and to promise that justice would be served.
Australia’s Foreign Ministry had sent a letter of apology for the actions of Australian forces, it added.