UK Accused of War Crimes in Iraq

250-page report cites sex assaults, beatings, electrocution

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 14, 2014 7:35 AM CST

(Newser) – UK lawyers and European human rights activists are calling on the International Criminal Court to prosecute British leaders over war crimes allegedly committed in Iraq. Public Interest Lawyers and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights have compiled a 250-page report, submitted to the ICC Saturday, on "systematic detainee abuse" between 2003 and 2008 "that at times resulted in the death of detainees." It cites "forms of sadism, including sexual abuse, and sexual and religious humiliation." It also describes "hooding," electrocution, and sleep, water, and food deprivation, per the Independent, which notes that the ICC in 2006 acknowledged likely war crimes, but with fewer than 20 cases at hand, did not pursue an investigation.

Among the British officials named are British army leader Sir Peter Wall, former defense secretary Geoff Hoon, and former defense minister Adam Ingram; it alleges that military commanders "knew or should have known" what their forces were doing. The allegations come as the ICC faces accusations of focusing on African war crimes without addressing the West. “What this application does is throw down the challenge to the court to show there are no double standards,” says a human rights expert. The report's accusations involve the cases of some 400 Iraqis; among their accounts:

  • "A soldier brought my eight-year-old son into the room. The officer started slapping my son round his face and shouting at him ... I was on the floor in a terrible condition and couldn't move."
  • "Sand kept coming into the hood. It was extremely uncomfortable and difficult to breathe ... We were left to kneel in the sun for hours.
  • "The soldier ... started rubbing his penis on my back, while the other soldiers watched. Then I felt him ejaculate on my back."
  • "Interrogators spent a lot of time insulting my sister and other family members. They threatened to rape my sister and force me to watch and said they would also arrest my old mother and father."

In this Oct 22, 2006 file photograph,  British troops man a checkpoint in Basra, Iraq.
In this Oct 22, 2006 file photograph, British troops man a checkpoint in Basra, Iraq.   (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani, File)
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