Preliminary investigation into UK activity in occupied Iraq
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court stated today that she will resume an investigation into conduct of forces of the United Kingdom during the Iraq occupation. In 2006, the previous Prosecutor issued a statement saying that he had decided not to proceed with investigations. Earlier, as we now know from Wikileaks, he had reassured diplomats that he had no intention of investigating conduct of the occupying forces in Iraq. Today’s statement by the Prosecutor notes that new information has been received in a submission by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and Public Interest Lawyers. The full communication, delivered to the Prosecutor in January of this year, can be found here. The Prosecutor should be congratulated for her courage in taking this step. It will no doubt incur the wrath of the right wing press and conservative politicians who think that there are two standards of justice, one for the global south and another for those who wrote the Magna Carta. Last week, the Prosecutor indicated that she would begin an investigation into the Ukraine as a result of that country’s declaration accepting jurisdiction of the Court. And presently, France is promoting a resolution in the Security Council aimed at referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. For the Court, this activity in States outside Africa where very strategic interests of major powers are involved is a welcome development. It will help to transmit a message that this is an independent and impartial institution capable of judging the strong and not only the weak.
Up to 1,000 British soldiers face an investigation into war crimes allegedly committed during the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the following occupation of the country. The charges are mostly based on testimony given by detainees in Iraq and are related to the abuse and torture of detainees.