Amnesty International says New Zealand Government can’t rely on the ISAF report into civilian casualties in Afghanistan

23 March 2017, 10:44 UTC | Afghanistan
© Amnesty International

Amnesty International’s Grant Bayldon says the New Zealand Government must act now to swiftly launch an independent inquiry into allegations of civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

“The New Zealand Government can’t rely on the veracity of the ISAF report as they’re currently doing. We have documented instances of ISAF reaching incorrect findings in their reports and have also raised concerns about their ability, as military forces, to conduct an impartial investigation into military conduct.”

Grant Bayldon, Executive Director, Amnesty International New Zealand

Bayldon said today, “The New Zealand Government can’t rely on the veracity of the ISAF report as they’re currently doing. We have documented instances of ISAF reaching incorrect findings in their reports and have also raised concerns about their ability, as military forces, to conduct an impartial investigation into military conduct.”

In just one example from 2013, ISAF reacted in the media to reports of civilian casualties caused by a drone strike. After initially saying that it killed “10 enemy forces” and that there were “no signs of civilians in the vicinity”, it later acknowledged that three civilians were killed. A United Nations investigation found that 10 civilians were killed.

In a 2014 report Amnesty International noted, “A key requirement of a good investigation is that those responsible for carrying out the investigation are independent of those implicated in the alleged crimes...Other indicators of good investigations include taking witness statements in a timely fashion, protecting witnesses from violence or intimidation, and drafting detailed written reports of findings that are made public within a reasonable time.”

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