British war crimes in Iraq update

This video says about itself:

The British Soldier Disgraced For Speaking About Iraq

Diary of a Disgraced Soldier (2010): When some grainy mobile phone footage of British soldiers beating young Iraqis emerged in 2003, the man behind the mobile phone became public enemy no. 1. Enraged, yet bearing a deep sense of shame, Martin’s vitriolic video diaries get us closer to the ugly, uncut truth of combat than ever before.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

British soldiers could face prosecution for crimes committed during Iraq conflict, investigators confirm

Exclusive: The unit established to test allegations of torture and unlawful killings has been overwhelmed with cases

Jonathan Owen

2 hours ago

British soldiers are likely to face prosecution for crimes including murder in Iraq, the head of the unit established by the Ministry of Defence to investigate allegations of torture and unlawful killing in the war-torn country has said.

Mark Warwick, a former police detective in charge of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat), told The Independent that he believed there would be sufficient evidence to justify criminal charges being brought.

“There are serious allegations that we are investigating across the whole range of Ihat investigations, which incorporates homicide and everything, where I feel there is significant evidence to be obtained to put a strong case before the SPA [Service Prosecuting Authority] to prosecute and charge,” said Mr Warwick.

Ihat’s caseload in terms of victims of alleged ill-treatment or unlawful killing by British forces in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 has risen tenfold since it was established.

In 2010, it was dealing with cases involving 152 victims. It is now dealing with more than 1,500 victims, according to Ihat’s latest quarterly update. Of these, 280 are victims of alleged unlawful killing by British forces in Iraq, but more than 200 of these cases have yet to be investigated, with just 25 currently under investigation.

Of 1,235 alleged cases of ill-treatment, including allegations of rape and torture, only 45 are actually under investigation.

The initial target for completion of its investigations was 2016 but this will not be met. And, although the unit is funded until 2019, its work may not be finished within this period.

“Over the next 12 to 18 months, we will review all the caseload to better understand the picture and then I think we can say whether 2019 seems realistic,” said Mr Warwick.

One of Ihat’s most notorious cases is that of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi hotel receptionist who died after being beaten, abused and restrained while held in custody by British soldiers in 2003. More than a decade on, Mr Warwick stressed that this remains “a live criminal investigation”.

Asked whether some cases could constitute war crimes, he said: “There are lots of significant cases that we are investigating and at the appropriate time it will be a matter for us to discuss with the SPA whether they meet the war-crimes threshold, but there are certainly serious allegations currently being investigated.”

Five years after Ihat was established, there has yet to be a single prosecution.  Human rights groups are losing patience with the lack of obvious progress.

“The incredibly slow pace at which Ihat is investigating allegations of criminality committed by UK soldiers against Iraqi civilians is wholly unacceptable,” said Carla Ferstman, director of the human rights charity Redress. “Things seem to still be moving at a snail’s pace. We call upon the Government to ensure Ihat can, and does, do what it was set up to do, and to do it now. This cannot be a whitewash.” …

Meanwhile, Britain remains under the scrutiny of the International Criminal Court, which is conducting a preliminary examination of allegations of war crimes by British forces in Iraq. The ICC is looking at more than 1,200 cases of alleged ill-treatment and unlawful killing – including almost 50 Iraqis who reportedly died in British custody.

British soldiers ‘face prosecution’ over 55 Iraq War deaths. Exclusive: SPA director vows team would prosecute soldiers where there is evidence of unlawful killing and torture: here.

Nearly 300 British veterans face investigation over alleged Iraq war crimes. Iraq historic allegations team has delivered letters to hundreds of British personnel involved in incidents under investigation: here.

Despite the PM’s objections, holding British military personnel to human rights laws reflects our common humanity, writes LIZ DAVIES: here.

14 thoughts on “British war crimes in Iraq update

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  3. Saturday 23rd January 2016

    posted by Paddy McGuffin in Britain

    THE former chief legal adviser to the army hit out yesterday at government attempts to avoid paying compensation to victims of abuse and torture during the Iraq war.

    Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered the national security council to bring a halt to “spurious” legal claims against potentially hundreds of British veterans of the Iraq war.

    However the army’s top post-invasion Iraq adviser Nicholas Mercer, who himself raised concerns of abuse by British forces, criticised the move.

    “Simply to polarise it as money-grubbing lawyers is simply wrong,” he said.

    “There are plenty of us who have raised our concerns without any financial motive at all — if indeed the other lawyers have got a financial motive.”

    He pointed out that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has already paid out £20 million for 326 cases.

    “Anyone who has fought the MoD knows that they don’t pay out for nothing,” added Mr Mercer.

    One such case is that of Basra hotelier Baha Mousa, who was found by an independent inquiry to have been brutally kicked and beaten to death by British soldiers while in detention in 2003.

    The government-established Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat) has said it is investigating around 280 veterans over credible allegations of torture, abuse and murder.

    Mr Cameron’s proposals could involve measures to curb the use of “no win, no fee” arrangements, meaning the majority of victims could not afford to bring a claim.

    Other proposals include the speeding up of planned residence tests for legal aid cases requiring claimants to have lived in Britain for 12 months — effectively striking out the majority of claims at a stroke.

    Law firm Leigh Day, which was referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal as a result of an alleged failure to disclose a key document to the al-Sweady Inquiry investigating alleged war crimes in Iraq, accused the government of trying to put itself above the law.

    The inquiry concluded that allegations of war crimes by British forces on that occasion were based on “deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility” — charges the firm strenuously denies.

    A spokesman for Leigh Day said: “No-one is above the law, not us, not the British army and not the government. We cannot imagine that the Prime Minister is proposing that this should change.”


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