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Journal article

Suspected war criminals in Australia: law and policy

10 Aug 2016


The current conflicts in Syria and Iraq have for the first time in many years brought to public consciousness the issue of war criminals in Australia. Australia has historically dealt with this issue in a reactive fashion and with varying success, through the domestic prosecution of offenders, immigration screening procedures and extradition. These approaches have, however, generally been incongruent in theory and application. This article examines the issue of war criminals in Australia and demonstrates that Australia has an incomplete and largely dormant enforcement apparatus, a problematic immigration regime and a poor record of extraditing war criminals. Australia is in need of a coordinated and coherent policy and legal responses that re-emphasise the role of domestic investigations and prosecutions, if it is to rise to the challenge of ‘putting an end to impunity’ and assert itself as a nation committed to international criminal justice.

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