ADF leadership referred to International Criminal Court

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie wants an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie wants an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. Photo: AAP

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has referred senior leadership of the Australian Defence Force to the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan.

In an emotional speech to the Senate, Senator Lambie – a former ADF member – said leadership had not been held to account for their actions.

“The government is no doubt hoping this will all just go away,” she told parliament on Tuesday.

“They’re hoping that Australians will forget that when alleged war crimes in Afghanistan were investigated, our senior commanders got a free pass, while our Diggers were thrown under the bus.

“Well, we don’t forget. I won’t forget. Lest we forget.

“There is a culture of cover-up at the highest levels of the Australian Defence Force. It is the ultimate boys’ club.”

Senator Lambie said the referral to The Hague asked the criminal court to examine the country’s high commanders “through the lens of command responsibility”.

She said the referral was a method of last resort.

“Quite frankly, I feel embarrassed that Australia is in this situation, so I am helping the government today,” Senator Lambie said.

“I am giving you a second chance to get this right and fix this mess.

“High command needs to be held responsible.”

She sought to table the referral to The Hague in parliament, but the government, opposition and the Greens said they wanted to view the documents before deciding.

Labor senator Anthony Chisholm said he hoped the situation could be resolved quickly.

“We too understand the passion and importance that Senator Lambie places on these matters, and we understand that they’re important to her and many people across the country,” he said.

“We do, however, follow a normal protocol where we get the chance to peruse these documents before we make a decision.”

An Office of the Special Investigator has been set up to address potential criminal matters raised in the Inspector-General of the ADF’s Afghanistan inquiry report, which looked at alleged war crimes committed between 2005 and 2016.


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