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UK: Call for ICC probe into British ‘war crimes’ in Iraq

11th Jan 2014

British forces in Iraq. Lewis Whyld/PA Wire URN:7071574


Two NGOs say they have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate allegations of abuse of prisoners in Iraq from 2003 to 2008. They say hundreds of former prisoners have complained.

A German human rights group and a British law firm say they have asked the prosecutor’s office at the International Criminal Court in The Hague to look into allegations that British soldiers carried out systematic abuse and torture of prisoners in Iraq between 2003 and 2008.

The Berlin-based European Centre for Constitutional Rights and the law firm Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), based in Birmingham, said in a statement on Saturday that they had jointly filed a complaint with the ICC.

The 250-page 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.”

The two organizations said more than 400 former Iraqi prisoners had contacted PIL in the past two years alleging “serious abuse and humiliation” at the hands of British soldiers. They said the complaint document contained more than 2,000 accusations of abuse documented over five years, with allegations ranging from sexual and religious humiliation to physical violence.

The joint statement said a similar complaint to the ICC failed in 2006 on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence, but insisted that “a thorough investigation was and remains necessary.”

Responding to queries from the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and regional public broadcaster NDR, the British Defense Ministry on Friday confirmed that there had been cases of abuse by British soldiers in Iraq, but that these were “isolated.”

A spokesman rejected the accusation of systematic torture on the part of British military personnel, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

tj/pfd (AFP, dpa)

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