NZDF inquiry: Justice for survivors, accountability to the UN

13 April 2018, 08:53 UTC | New Zealand

In response to the Government’s announcement of an inquiry into the allegations made in the book “Hit and Run”, the acting Executive Director of Amnesty International New Zealand, Meg de Ronde, said, “Last year we called for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s potential responsibility for war crimes, so this is welcome news.

“Finding out exactly what happened during that raid is a crucial first step to justice for any possible victims or survivors,” said de Ronde.

“Finding out exactly what happened during that raid is a crucial first step to justice for any possible victims or survivors,"

Meg de Ronde, acting Executive Director of Amnesty International New Zealand

Last year, the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) asked the New Zealand Government to report on what measures it has put in place in order to fully investigate the allegations relating to Operation Burnham in Afghanistan in 2010. As part of the seventh periodic report of New Zealand in May 2019, the New Zealand Government will undergo examination by the Committee in Geneva.

Question 27 reads, “Please indicate what measures the State party has put in place to ensure that all allegations relating to “Operation Burnham” – a raid of two villages in the Baghlan province in Afghanistan by the New Zealand Defence Forces on 22 August 2010 – will be fully investigated and addressed.”

De Ronde said, “This is far more than a domestic disagreement on what constitutes a proper inquiry. It’s about New Zealand’s reputation on the world stage and our responsibilities as a member of the United Nations.

“Clearly, the NZDF investigating itself isn’t good enough – this is a matter of potential war crimes committed in our name. So it’s encouraging that when our government fronts up in Geneva next year, there is more likely to be faith in our response.” 

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