More information will be revealed in the next week about a report into alleged war crimes by Australian special forces troops in Afghanistan but the level of detail remains unknown.
Defence Force Chief Angus Campbell has been handed the report, stemming from an inquiry by the inspector-general of the Australian Defence Force into alleged incidents between 2005 and 2016.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday said the report dealt with highly-sensitive matters, possibly indicating constraints about what details are revealed.
‘The government will be taking it very seriously and we will be abiding by all the proper legal and institutional processes that are appropriate,’ he said.
‘We will have more to say about it over the course of the next week.’
Defence Force Chief Angus Campbell (pictured)has been handed the report, stemming from an inquiry by the inspector-general of the Australian Defence Force into alleged incidents between 2005 and 2016
Mr Morrison did not say how much of the report would be made public.
‘It goes to highly-sensitive matters and it’s important that we run a process here that respects the integrity of our defence forces, that upholds the standards that all Australians would expected of our defence forces, and to ensure that people are treated fairly,’ the prime minister added.
‘We will be doing all of those things but this process has a long way to go.’
General Campbell on Friday confirmed he has the report.
‘I intend to speak about the key findings once I have read and reflected on the report,’ he said in a brief statement.
‘Welfare and other support services are available to those affected by the Afghanistan Inquiry.’
Australian Special Operations Task Group Soldiers move towards waiting UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters as part of the Shah Wali Kot Offensive in May 2013
The federal government has promised to release the report amid concerns it could be heavily redacted when finally published.
There are also fears the soldiers involved could be denied procedural fairness.
Attorney-General Christian Porter said ‘you can expect to see a very detailed and substantive report’.
The report was leaked to the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, who published allegations that some soldiers would gloat about illegal killings and some soldiers allegedly slit the throats of young teenagers they found in villages.
General Campbell said he will ‘speak about the key findings’ after reading the report.
Special Operations Task Group soldiers make their way to a waiting UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter after a Shura in Sha Wali Kot on May 9, 2013