General’s Campbell & Burr must resign to preserve integrity of Afghan War Crimes process

The Australian Greens MPs

Tuesday 1 November 2020

Australian Greens Peace spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John has called for General’s Campbell and Burr to resign to enable the recommendations of the Afghan Inquiry to be implemented free from any actual or perceived conflicts of interest, and facilitate ongoing investigations by the Australian Federal Police.

General Campbell was the Commander of Joint Task Force 633 responsible for all Australian forces deployed in the Middle East, including Afghanistan, between January 2011 and January 2012. Lt. General Burr was a Commander of SASR on two separate deployments during the Afghanistan War.

“Since this report was first released, I have been clear in questioning how appropriate it is for General Campbell and General Burr to initiate the disciplinary action against commanding officers who served during the Afghanistan War,” Steele-John said.

“If this level of alleged systemic failure had occurred within a financial institution, it would be totally inappropriate for the reform of that institution to be led by an individual who hel a senior executive position during the time that alleged criminal activity occurred.

“Both General Campbell and General Burr have irresolvable conflicts of interest; it is impossible for the public to trust that commanding officers will be held to account when the process is led by the top brass who themselves held commanding roles during the period of time when many of these alleged crimes were committed.

“I’m not saying that General Campbell or General Burr were involved in any of the alleged incidents or even that they knew about them prior to the release of the Afghan Inquiry report, but that perception is undermining the process.

“Veterans who did the right thing expect that the commanders who either turned a blind eye to sanitised reporting, or failed to engage with what was happening on the ground should be held to account and so does the Australian public.

“We cannot allow defence leadership to apply one set of rules to their subordinates in the lower ranks and a different set of rules to themselves in secret.

“If General’s Campbell and Burr will not do the right thing by the Australian Defence Force, and the Australian public, and resign then Prime Minister Morrison should sack them.”

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