Full inquiry needed into Australia’s military detention

The Australian Government must establish a full and independent inquiry
into the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) detention practices in Iraq and Afghanistan,
according to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

The call for an independent inquiry follows further revelations, aired on ABC TV’s 7.30, based on
documents obtained by PIAC under freedom of information law.

‘The documents reveal the ADF’s role in assisting the US to obstruct the
International Committee of the Red Cross from visiting certain detainees at Abu
Ghraib prison in Iraq. They show a disturbing response by Australian officials
regarding detainee mistreatment,’ said PIAC chief executive officer, Edward

‘The documents raise big questions about ADF detention practices and the
ADF’s knowledge of illegal interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib,’ Mr Santow said.

‘The documents show a failure of leadership within Australia’s military
hierarchy,’ Mr Santow said.

The previously classified ADF documents are now available online at http://military.piac.asn.au.

The documents reveal:

  • The ADF relied on a legal
    fiction to avoid its commitments under international law regarding the capture
    of suspected combatants in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • The ADF and the Australian
    Government mishandled information about illegal interrogation
    techniques at Abu Ghraib. 

‘We need a full inquiry, with Royal
Commission powers, to get to the truth.’

‘The US and UK have been more open to
scrutiny about their involvement in this conflict. Australia needs this inquiry
to ensure that the ADF has proper procedures in place that ensure our troops
abide by international law,’ Mr Santow said.

Hear Edward Santow talk about why we need a full inquiry.

Photo: Flickr

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