Investigating Operational Incidents in a Military Context:

Law, Justice, Politics


Editor: David W. Lovell
‘Operational incidents’ denotes misconduct, misdeeds or mishaps that occur on military operations, whether concerning the mistreatment of enemy soldiers, offences against civilians, conflict of varying levels within one’s own forces, or accidents that lead to injury or death within a theatre of operations. Alleged breaches of IHL or the disciplinary regulations of particular militaries require at the very least an initial assessment to determine the facts and then, if warranted, a more substantial investigation. The need for robust investigations, however, is not always matched by the will and the ability to undertake them. There is at last a sufficient body of experience on which we can reflect, in this volume, on such investigations, their challenges, and their likely evolution.
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Biographical Note

David W. Lovell, Ph.D. (1985), is a Professor of Political Science at UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy. He has published more than fifteen books on issues of military ethics, the history of political thought, communism and post-communism, Asia-Pacific security and Australian politics, including Protecting Civilians in Violent Conflict (Ashgate, 2012).

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; List of Contributors;
1 Introduction: The Challenges of Investigating Operational Incidents David W. Lovell;
2 A Strategic Commander’s Perspective Rear Admiral James Goldrick, RAN (Ret) ;
3 Bloody Sunday: Politics, Truth and Justice in the Widgery and Saville Inquiries David Blaazer;
4 The Maxim of Thucydides: Transparency, Fact-Finding, and Accountability in East Timor Clinton Fernandes;
5 The UK in Basra and the Death of Baha Mousa Rachel Kerr;
6 Haditha: A Case Study in Response to War Crimes Tom Ayres;
7 Investigating Violations of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law through an International Commission of Inquiry: Libya and Beyond Annemarie Devereux;
8 Ethics or Politics? Th e Palmer Commission Report on the 2010 Gaza Flotilla Incident Deane-Peter Baker;
9 The Challenges of Green-on-Blue Investigations in Afghanistan Clive Williams;
10 The Tension between Secrecy and Transparency: Investigations in the ‘Wiki Age’ David W. Lovell;
11 The Emerging Paradigm for Operational Incident Investigation Rob McLaughlin;
Bibliography; Index.


All interested in International Humanitarian Law, military law, and anyone concerned with investigating war crimes