War crimes investigation puts prosecutors in “uncharted territory”

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The SAS’ second squadron will be disbanded and reformed under a different name, the Service’s meritorious citation will be revoked, soldiers’ medals may be stripped and 36 matters involving 19 current or former soldiers will be referred to the new Office of the Special Investigator to build cases for prosecution.

Questions are being asked how senior officers were not aware of what Justice Brereton called a ” toxic” pattern of competitive, hero-worshipping behaviour among soliders even if they were unaware of actual incidents of criminal acts.

While advocates in Afghanistan are calling for Australia to set up an independent body to represent the victims, experts say gathering evidence will be difficult, especially as prosecutors have no recent precedents to rely on to support their cases.

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