Ugur Nedim

About Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist and the Principal of Sydney Criminal Lawyers, a leading Sydney Law Firm that specialises in Criminal Law and Traffic cases.

Three years after the Afghan papers story, the army is investigating the claims

The leaker of the documents likened the suppression to “Nazi Germany”, the AFP raided the ABC because of it. Now, finally, the claims of murderous wrongdoing in Afghanistan are set to be investigated.



The recent AFP raids were conducted as a result of a complaint by the Department of Defence about the leaking of accounts of alleged war crimes perpetrated against civilians by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

The former legal officer of the Australian Special Forces who leaked those documents, David McBride, told Sydney Criminal Lawyers in June 2019: “If the government breaks the law, something needs to be done about it. You can’t have it like in Nazi Germany, where people said, “I was just following orders.” That’s how we get holocausts…government employees have got to use their moral compass to say, “No. That’s wrong. Enough is enough.” And be prepared to stand up for it.”

Mr McBride previously wrote in an article for the SMH, “The point came where there was no doubt in my mind that a line had been crossed… and lives were being cynically wasted.”

Now, three-years after the documents were leaked, a team representing the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force has been sent to Kabul to interview witnesses regarding the alleged crimes.

The team is headed by NSW Supreme Court Justice Paul Brereton, who is a Major-General in the Army Reserve, and will attempt to ascertain the veracity of the allegations with a view to making recommendations regarding the prosecution of alleged offenders.

The team will also investigate a number of alleged murders by Australian military personnel that occurred after the leaking of the Afghan files.

McBride was arrested in September 2018 and is facing multiple criminal charges for exposing the truth, which he believes is in the public interest.

He is adamant that the leaked documents do not contain information that would jeopardise military operations or put Australian lives at risk and says Australians have a right to be informed about the commission of war crimes by their servicemen.

The team will also investigate a number of alleged murders by Australian military personnel that occurred after the leaking of the Afghan files.

The leaked ‘Afghan files’ contain horrific accounts of crimes allegedly perpetrated by Australian military personnel over many years.

They document the “ethical decay” of Australian Special Forces personnel between 2009 and 2013, to the point where they were engaging in the indiscriminate slaughter unarmed Afghan civilians, failing to report the killings and covering-up what they had done.

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It contains reports and photographs of slain children, including a boy who was shot dead as he was collecting figs, the murder of an unarmed civilian father and his six-year-old child, the killing of a detainee who was left alone with an Australian soldier, the detention of two other unarmed civilian men who were handcuffed and then shot dead in a room used to store almonds, the throwing from a ledge then shooting to death of another unarmed civilian man, and the “unlawful killings” of many other “innocent civilians”.

The reports speak of the “desensitisation” of Australian military personnel and their “drift in values”, expressing concerns that, over time, they had developed a “warrior culture” with a complete disregard for human rights and Australia’s obligations under the Geneva Convention.

It is expected that the Inspector-General of the ADF will make recommendations regarding criminal charges once the team has finalised its investigation.




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