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Victoria Cross winner denies war crime claim

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Australia’s most decorated soldier Ben Roberts-Smith has rejected allegations aired in a Nine Network report that he had been involved in a war crime.

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The report on the program 60 Minutes, broadcast on Sunday night, citing two anonymous sources, said former corporal Roberts-Smith had instigated the execution of an Afghan farmer Ali Jan in 2012 during an operation in Afghanistan.

“I categorically deny the allegations made against me in tonight’s 60 Minutes program,” Roberts-Smith said in a statement.

“I am concerned that tonight’s story and the previous publications by the SMH/Age are an attempt to improperly influence the outcome of the (Inspector-General of the Defence Force) inquiry.”

A Defence inquiry and a criminal investigation by the Australian Federal Police on the matter is reportedly in progress.

The Victoria Cross and Medal of Gallantry winner last year launched legal action against the publishers of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times and three journalists over articles alleging war crimes and domestic violence.

-AAP

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