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Former senior Special Forces officer charged with sexual assault

A former senior British Army officer is set to appear before a military court later this month on charges of sexual assault, according to an official Army spokesperson.

Ex-Major General James Roddis is scheduled to attend Bulford Military Court Centre in Wiltshire on 17 July. He faces charges under Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Until recently, Roddis served as the director of strategy for Strategic Command, an organisation that includes special forces and intelligence units. In 2014, he was the commanding officer of the Highlanders, 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, the last Scottish battalion to serve in a combat role in Afghanistan.

Maj Gen Roddis earned numerous accolades in his service including a Distinguished Service Order for his successful command and leadership during active operations. He was also appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and received two Queen’s Commendations for Valuable Service in 2008 and 2017.

The arrest of a former senior Special Forces officer for sexual assault comes off the back of wider concerns in relation to the UK’s ‘elite’ fighting forces. Five SAS members are under investigation or arrested for alleged war crimes in Syria, stemming from a 2022 incident involving the killing of an unarmed suspected militant.

More notably, broader investigations into SAS operations in Afghanistan have unveiled accusations of multiple unlawful killings, including targeting unarmed individuals and shooting sleeping Afghans, with at least 84 deaths under questionable circumstances between 2010 and 2013.

Compounding these issues are accusations of obstructing justice, such as the destruction of crucial evidence during the Royal Military Police’s Operation Northmoor. High-ranking officials, such as General Gwyn Jenkins, are also implicated in failing to report misconduct and concealing evidence.

Further tarnishing the SAS’s image are recent arrests related to drug-running operations involving SAS members and accusations of blocking relocation applications for Afghan allies at risk of Taliban reprisals.

The military court proceedings for Roddis are expected to draw significant attention, given his high-profile career and the serious nature of the charges.