British politicians, troops accused of Iraq war crimes

British politicians, troops accused of Iraq war crimes
Sat Jan 11, 2014 09:35:16

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been asked to investigate the actions of former members of the British cabinet and troops over accusations of "systematic torture" in Iraq.

The European Centre for Constitutional Human Rights, based in Germany, and the Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) firm, based in England, said in a statement on Friday that they had jointly filed a complaint to the ICC.

The complaint called for the "opening of an investigation" into the actions of senior British officials "in particular the former minister of defense Geoff Hoon and secretary of state, Adam Ingram, for systematic torture and abuse of prisoners in Iraq between 2003 and 2008."

More than 400 Iraqi prisoners have contacted PIL in the past few years, alleging "serious abuse and humiliation" on the part of British soldiers, the two organizations said.

"Our legal team has exhausted all legal avenues" to obtain justice in Britain, said Phil Shiner, a public interest lawyer.

A 250-page document was handed over to the ICC, comprising 85 particularly representative cases and more than 2,000 accusations of abuse documented over five years, said the two organizations.

A similar complaint to the ICC failed in 2006. However, "eight years later, it is evident that a thorough investigation remains necessary," read the joint statement.

Serious violations of the Geneva Convention which protects prisoners of war from abuse may constitute a war crime.

According to the German newspaper of Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the British ministry of defense admitted "isolated cases" of abuse by British soldiers in Iraq, but denied anything systemic.

Britain helped the US invade Iraq in 2003 based on unfounded allegations about weapons of mass destruction and committed war crimes against Iraqis especially in prisons of the Arab nation. There are numerous photos, leaked from inside jails, prove British army forces tortured Iraqis during the years of invasion of Iraq.


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