UN request to Govt over alleged Afghanistan war crimes based on 'inaccuracies' - Gerry Brownlee

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1 NEWS

A United Nations request to our Government to respond to allegations of war crimes is based on factual inaccuracies, according to Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Details of the incident, which left 21 civilians dead or wounded, were reported in the book Hit and Run.
Source: 1 NEWS

The authors of the book Hit & Run, Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson, allege New Zealand SAS forces were involved in raids in Afghanistan in 2010, resulting in the death or injury of 21 civilians.

The Government ruled out any investigation two months ago, saying a coalition forces report had cleared New Zealand military personnel of any wrongdoing.

Mr Brownlee said today that contrary to an Amnesty International press release and subsequent media reports, the New Zealand Government has not been ordered to investigate the allegations made in the book Hit & Run.

The Government has received a list of issues from the United Nations Committee Against Torture as part of a routine reporting process and has two years to respond, he said. 

"Unfortunately, the issue raised by the Committee is based on factual inaccuracies. The allegations made by Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson were disproven and the Chief of Defence Force held a press conference detailing the New Zealand Defence Force raid in Afghanistan in 2010," Mr Brownlee said.

"I would also like to point out that the findings of the International Security Assistance Force investigation undertaken in 2010 after Operation Burnham were available to the United Nations Assistance Mission - Afghanistan at the time," he added.

"We will be responding to the committee's request for information but I want to be clear that this is not a criticism of New Zealand, or its Defence Force."

Mr Brownlee said the committee will make its conclusion about the 33 issues raised after the Government has responded, as required, by 2019. 

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