SAS accused of 'war crimes' in unsubstantiated report

June 12, 2018

A confidential defence inquiry alleges that the Australian Defence Force’s special forces 'SAS' unit allegedly committed 'war crimes' in Afghanistan, with insiders reporting “unsanctioned and illegal application of violence on operations” amid a “complete lack of accountability.”

The Conservative Party’s lead Victorian senate candidate Kevin Bailey is a former SAS soldier and says he’s concerned these broad allegations are smearing the whole Defence Force rather than individual offenders.

The ABC and Fairfax newspapers report the inquiry found systemic cultural issues within the SAS, which go “well beyond blowing off steam” into areas such as “drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, unsanctioned and illegal application of violence on operations … and the perception of a complete lack of accountability at times.”

The confidential inquiry, commissioned by then-Special Operations Commander Major General Jeff Sengelman in 2016, also found major gaps in knowledge between government and the military. While Defence Minister Marise Payne has been briefed on the report, it has noted “enormous and difficult challenges” for government officials looking to address SAS’ internal culture.

Mr Bailey spoke with 3AW’s Neil Mitchell:

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