Austrailians Charged with Civilian Deaths

Vanessa Estime

In February of 2009, three Australian soldiers raided a residential compound in the province of Uruzgan, where a Taliban leader was said to be hiding. Unfortunately, the soldiers did not get the right target. Instead, they apparently attacked the wrong house and killed ten natives. Six died, five of which were children, and four were injured.

Eight months later, the ex-commandoes are being charged with “various service offenses, including manslaughter, dangerous conduct, failing to comply with a lawful general order, and prejudicial conduct,” according to the Director of Military Prosecutions Brigadier, Lyn McDale.

The day after the attack, the Australian Defence Department issued a statement saying the deaths had happened as the soldiers carried out “clearance operations” using guns and hand grenades, and that the soldiers were simply retaliating after being fired at by Taliban insurgents during the raid.

After careful consideration, Lyn McDale said that the charges had been laid against the ex-commandoes. Through their lawyers, the soldiers commented saying, “We will strenuously defend the charges and we look forward to the opportunity of publicly clearing our reputations, as well as the reputation of the Australian Defence Force.” The military was noted to saying that the trial would commence early 2011.