Revoke the Meritorious Unit Citation awarded to Task Force 66 (SOTG IV-XX) 26 Jan 2015

Revoke the Meritorious Unit Citation awarded to Task Force 66 (SOTG IV-XX) 26 Jan 2015

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Concerned Member started this petition to Governor General of Australia His Excellency General The Honorable David Hurley AC DSC

Following the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF)’s announcement to accept all recommendations in the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) Afghanistan Inquiry (also known as the Brereton Report); there has been public support for SOTG to retain the Meritorious Unit Citation (MUC).

The MUC is a collective group decoration to recognise sustained outstanding service in warlike operations.

The Brereton Report found credible information of 23 incidents in which one or more non-combatants (39 individuals in total) were unlawfully killed in circumstances which, if accepted by a jury, would be the war crime of murder.

None of these are incidents of disputable decisions made under pressure in the heat of battle. Some incidents involved junior members being required to shoot a prisoner, in order to achieve the soldiers’ first kill; a practice known as ‘blooding’.

The report also found there is credible information that some members of SOTG carried “throwdowns” which could be placed with the bodies of ‘enemy killed in action’ to portray that the individual was a legitimate target. This practice probably originated to avoid scrutiny, but evolved to be used for the purpose of concealing deliberate unlawful killings.

The Report adopted a threshold test for recommending criminal investigation: Is there a realistic prospect of a criminal investigation obtaining sufficient evidence to charge an identifiable individual with a criminal offence?

The 36 incidents recommended for investigation by the Australian Federal Police took place over multiple rotations. Given the spread of these incidents, it is irrelevant whether any result in an individual criminal conviction.

The recommendation to revoke the MUC is not intended to condemn or punish soldiers. It is a reflection of the Unit, not the individual.

The failings of command, culture, and commitment to Australian values cannot be separated from the overall performance of the Unit. I ask you to accept the recommendation of the Brereton Report and revoke SOTG’s Meritorious Unit Citation. 

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