As the British government announces a statute of limitations to end all prosecutions related to the Troubles in Northern Ireland before 1998 – effectively an amnesty for the armed forces – we look at another arena in which the British Army’s conduct has been airbrushed from history. In an exclusive for Bella Irfan Chowdhury reports on the the International Criminal Court’s report on British war crimes in Iraq. We have deliberately not included or embedded some of the most disturbing footage and images of these incidents.
On 9 December 2020, the International Criminal Court (ICC) released a report on British war crimes in Iraq, entitled ‘Situation in Iraq/UK: Final Report’, which was the product of a preliminary examination that the ICC carried out from 2014 onwards. The report concludes that “there is a reasonable basis to believe that various forms of abuse were committed by members of British forces against Iraqi civilians in detention”, including “the war crimes of murder, torture, rape and/or other forms of sexual violence, and forms of mistreatment amounting to inhumane and cruel treatment or outrages against personal dignity”. The report also confirms that there were at least three incidents in which Iraqi children were tortured by British soldiers; two of the incidents occurred at one location in 2003, and the other incident occurred at a separate location in 2004. None of the soldiers who committed war crimes against children in these incidents have been prosecuted in Britain, and the ICC has also declined to take action against them.
I did find this piece on the Guardian about the statute of limitations issue.