‘Terrible things were done in our name in Iraq!’ – UK faces War Crimes Tribunal

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A COMPLAINT has been launched to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court regarding the responsibility of UK officials for war crimes in Iraq.

The complaint deals with ‘The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003-2008.’

Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) have collaborated in presenting the above complaint supported by compelling evidence to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The complaint was delivered to the OTP on 10 January 2014.

PIL and the ECCHR have filed the communication to the OTP of the ICC under Article 15 of the ICC Statute requesting that the Prosecutor examine the situation in Iraq from 2003-2008 with regard to the responsibility of UK military and civilian officials for the abuse and killing of detainees in their custody amounting to war crimes.

The communication refers to a bundle of supporting documentation that includes, inter alia, copies of the witness statements and recorded accounts of the Iraqi victims plus documentation from the UK Government which was released in the context of the legal representation by PIL and is now in the public domain.

The ECCHR is an independent, non-profit legal and educational organisation based in Berlin, Germany.

Lawyers at ECCHR have been litigating against American military and civilian officials for the elaboration, authorisation, and implementation of illegal interrogation policies, on behalf of Iraqi and Guantanamo detainees who suffered torture and other crimes while in US detention.

In its work related to the ICC, the ECCHR filed a communication on the situation in the Republic of Colombia in October 2012.

PIL is an international and domestic public law firm based in the UK, currently acting for over 1,069 former detainees and surviving relatives who allege that they or their family members were unlawfully detained, tortured or ill-treated, or killed by UK Services Personnel in Iraq.

Responding to denials by foreign secretary Hague, Public Interest Lawyers director Phil Shiner told the BBC yesterday: ‘The government is misleading the public. This goes to the top, from the commanding officer to the lowest private.

‘Terrible things were done in our name in Iraq. A lot of people were killed, and I mean Iraqi civilians.

‘We focus on people at the top, the secretary of state for defence at the time (Geoff Hoon), the armed forces minister (Adam Ingram).’

The dossier submitted by PIL also names head of the Army, General Sir Peter Wall.

By implication, prime minister Blair and his chancellor and successor Brown, also stand accused.

The dossier’s launch will take place tomorrow, Tuesday 14th January 2014 6.30pm-8.00pm at The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL.