Ex-Australian Soldier Charged with War Crime Over Afghan Killing

Image copyright: AFP [via Al Jazeera]

The Facts

  • Following an investigation by Australia's Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) and the Australian Federal Police, ex-Australian soldier Oliver Schulz, 41, was arrested in New South Whales on charges of war crimes over the killing of an Afghan civilian.

  • The OSI was established following the 2020 Brereton Report, which found "credible evidence" that some of Australia's elite forces unlawfully killed 39 people while in Afghanistan — including "prisoners, farmers or civilians" between 2009 and 2013.

The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

Just as the allied forces did to Japan after World War Two, war crime charges should not be limited to lower-level soldiers. Commanding officers, too, should be held accountable for their roles in these heinous acts, as they were likely aware of what these elite forces were doing and could very well have stepped in to stop it.

Pro-establishment narrative

As evidenced by this indictment, Australia's armed forces have cooperated with and allowed independent investigators to probe and even prosecute its soldiers for all crimes committed on Afghan soil. Besides criminal inquiries, Australia's military is also considering compensating the victims of these crimes as well as stripping the alleged perpetrators of their military honors. This horrific situation is being handled responsibly by current protocols.

Establishment split



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