In 2011, the Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, joined the Public
Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) in calling for a full and independent inquiry
into the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) detention practices in Iraq and Afghanistan.
‘The UK and US have had open inquiries, but Australia has yet to
publicly account for how it detains and treats captives in Iraq and
Afghanistan,’ said PIAC chief executive officer, Edward Santow.
‘There are outstanding questions about Australia’s current operations in
‘What conditions are placed on captives who are handed over by
Australian forces to the US and Afghanistan?
‘Does Australia still use the legal fiction of having one US soldier
embedded with Australian troops to try to avoid its legal responsibilities to
‘We need to ensure that, in current and future conflicts, Australia
fully complies with its international legal obligations and the Geneva
Conventions’, Mr Santow said.
The call for an independent inquiry follows revelations this week that
the ADF knew of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and an Australian military lawyer
obstructed International Committee of the Red Cross inspectors access to
detainees at Abu Ghraib.
The revelations are based on previously secret documents obtained by PIAC
under freedom of information laws and published online at http://military.piac.asn.au.
‘The documents show a disturbing response by Australian officials
regarding detainee mistreatment,’ said Mr Santow.