The Parliament has today passed important legislation giving the Australian Defence Force (ADF) greater power to target terrorists with lethal force.
The Criminal Code Amendment (War Crimes) Bill 2016 aligns Australia’s domestic law with international humanitarian law and provides legal certainty for Defence personnel fighting terrorist groups in combat zones.
Until now, Australian domestic law restricted the ADF from targeting key players in Daesh’s combat operations who were not directly involved in hostilities. Targeting these individuals could have exposed ADF personnel to prosecution under the Criminal Code, even if their actions were consistent with international law. This meant that members of Daesh and other organised armed groups had greater protection from attack than members of an ordinary state’s armed forces.
The Government’s legislation eliminates this problem and brings ADF operations into line with our key Coalition partners fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
The ADF’s conduct as part of Coalition operations against Daesh remains in accordance with strict rules of engagement that are consistent with Australia’s international legal obligations and domestic law.
Prime Minister’s Office: Press Office, (02) 6277 7744
Attorney-General’s Office: Scott Bolitho, 0477 722 189
Defence Minister’s Office: Henry Budd, 0429 531 143