Canberra, March 21 (IANS) Federal police have launched the first war crimes prosecution in Australia’s history over an alleged battlefield murder in Afghanistan.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers have arrested Oliver Schulz, 41, and charged him with one count of war crime, murder under the Criminal Code Act, reports Xinhua news agency.
It is the first time a current or former member of the Australian Defense Force (ADF) has been charged with a war crime.
Police allege that Schulz, who completed multiple tours of Afghanistan as a decorated member of the elite Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment, murdered an Afghan man.
If found guilty, Schulz could be sentenced to life imprisonment.
The charges come almost three years after Angus Campbell, chief of the ADF, released a landmark report from the Inspector-General of the ADF into alleged war crimes during the Afghanistan War.
The report, which took Justice Paul Brereton almost five years to compile, recommended that police investigate 19 soldiers for the murder of 39 prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan and the cruel treatment of two others.
It alleged that none of the killings took place in battle and that they were deliberately covered up.