Summary: International Criminal Court reopens investigations into alleged torture of Iraqi detainees by British military

13th May 2014: the International Criminal Court in The Hague has decided to reopen preliminary investigations into the liability of British military officials for the torture of detainees in Iraq.

This decision follows a criminal complaint lodged in January 2014 by SRT grantee the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) along with the Birmingham-based legal charity Public Interest Lawyers. The complainants called for investigations to be opened into the liability under international criminal law of senior members of the British military, as well as former defence heads and Secretaries of State within the Ministry of Defence, for the systematic torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees by members of the British military between 2003 and 2008.

Over the past few years more than 400 former Iraqi detainees have contacted PIL with accounts of abuse and degrading treatment by British soldiers. While these accusations are publicly known and have been the subject of a number of state commissions of inquiry, British authorities have to date failed to conduct the appropriate criminal proceedings.

ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck said, “The reopening of the investigation represents a milestone for Iraqi victims and for international criminal law. The double standards must come to an end. Those who violate human rights must be brought to justice regardless of how powerful they may be”.

Full press release from ECCHR’s website:

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