Govt hasn't addressed Hit & Run claims - author

  • 10/06/2017

The co-author of a book that suggests New Zealand soldiers committed war crimes in Afghanistan says the Government has failed in its duty to investigate the allegations.

Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager's Hit & Run alleges six civilians were killed and 15 injured in Operation Burnham in 2010. They also claim SAS soldiers burned and blew up about a dozen houses and failed to help the wounded.

On Friday the United Nations Committee Against Torture asked the Government what it's done to investigate the claims, which Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says have been debunked. Mr Brownlee said the UN wasn't ordering the Government to do anything, and its request was based on "factual inaccuracies".

Mr Stephenson told Newshub that's simply not true.

"They have not even addressed some of the serious allegations - for example, the very serious allegation a prisoner who was detained by the SAS was beaten by a member of the SAS, and then transferred to an organisation that tortured him."

He wishes our leaders had called for an inquiry into the claims, before they were pushed.

"What we have now is an international body concerned we have failed in our obligation to investigate serious allegations, taking the initiative itself and asking for more information."

Mr Stephenson expects the truth will come out eventually, one way or another.

"It would be very helpful if questions were asked the military and the Government were compelled to answer. I think it's going to happen whether it's by the UN, in a court of law or an inquiry."

Amnesty International backed the UN's call for a fuller investigation.

"It's clearly the right thing to do. The families of the Afghan victims and the New Zealand public deserve nothing less," said its New Zealand executive director Grant Bayldon.