Hundreds of British veterans investigated over war crimes

UK officials say that hundreds of British military personnel have been investigated for war crimes allegedly committed while they were stationed in Iraq

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

File photo of British soldiers observing a moment of silence during Britain's Veterans Day ceremony at a NATO base in Afghanistan‘s Helmand province.

United Kingdom (UK) officials have announced that hundreds of their military personnel have been investigated for alleged war crimes during their stationing in Iraq.

UK Ministry of Defence established a unit called the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) in 2010 in order to inquire into accusations of murder, abuse, and torture by its troops during the Second Gulf War.

British media has reported that the IHAT has sent letters to accused veterans of the Iraq war after its head Mark Warwick signaled last week that they could be prosecuted over alleged war crimes.

An IHAT spokesman said 280 veterans have been informed about being investigated regarding cases of ill-treatment, rape, torture, and other crimes, in a statement released on Friday.

Warwick previously said, "There are serious allegations that we are investigating across the whole range of Ihat investigations, which incorporates homicide, where I feel there is significant evidence to be obtained to put a strong case before the service prosecuting authority [SPA, which deals with military cases] to prosecute and charge," according to the Independent.

The IHAT statement said, "The Ministry of Defence takes all allegations of abuse or unlawful killing extremely seriously. That is why we are ensuring that they are investigated to establish the facts."

The IHAT investigations cover at least 1,514 cases in which 280 victims were allegedly unlawfully killed by British troops, according to the latest IHAT report on the subject.

In 2014, the International Criminal Court in The Hague reopened a preliminary examination of allegations of "systematic detainee abuse" by British troops in Iraq between 2003 and 2008.

TRTWorld and agencies