UK govt. Iraq abuse probe ‘inadequate’

UK govt. Iraq abuse probe Ëœinadequateâ„¢

This file picture taken on April 7, 2003 shows Iraqis watching British soldiers advance towards central Basra in the south of Iraq.

The British government’s response to claims of torture and abuse of Iraqis by UK troops was not adequate, the High Court has ruled.

Britainâ„¢s Ministry of Defence (MoD) set up the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) to investigate allegations leveled against British soldiers for killing, torturing and abusing hundreds of Iraqi civilians and prisoners.

However, two judges in London said the present IHAT inquiry “does not fulfill” the UK’s human rights obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Lawyers representing 180 Iraqi civilians had called for a full public inquiry into human rights violations perpetrated by the British military in Iraq.

The court stopped short of ordering such an inquiry on the grounds that IHAT is not independent enough, but said coroner-style hearings should investigate the issue further.

“The court has expressed its very serious concerns about allegations in these cases of the most serious kind involving murder, manslaughter, the willful infliction of serious bodily injury, sexual indignities and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” said Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), which represents the Iraqis.

The MoD has already paid a total of £14 million to 205 claimants and a further £1.1 million to 22 more people. The department is also negotiating over more payments to more cases.

US-led forces attacked Iraq in 2003 and toppled Saddam Hussein on the pretext of possessing weapons of mass destruction. However, no WMD was ever discovered in Iraq.

Britain was the second largest contributor of troops to the Iraq war. At least 179 British troops were killed during the US-led invasion of the country.

SSM/HE

This article originally appeared on: Press TV