May 13, 2014 - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has reopened a preliminary investigation into allegations that British soldiers may have committed war crimes by "systematically" abusing prisoners in Iraq from 2003 to 2008.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Tuesday she would review "new information" she received in January alleging that British officials bear responsibility for wrongdoing. An earlier investigation was closed in 2006.
Iraq is not a member of the court but Britain is and British nationals could be prosecuted for crimes committed in Iraq.
Allegations of abuse dogged the six-year British deployment in Iraq, which ended in 2009. The most infamous was the case of hotel receptionist Baha Mousa, whose death in a detention facility outside the city of Basra led to the first conviction of a British soldier under international war crimes legislation. read more>>>
Move cannot lead to prosecutions if court believes UK authorities are conducting genuine investigations
13 May 2014 - The re-opened preliminary examination of allegations that British troops abused Iraqi detainees between 2003 and 2008 is the last thing the government must have wanted. In January, when Phil Shiner's firm Public Interest Lawyers and a Berlin-based litigation pressure group known as ECCHR sent a 250-page complaint to Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the international criminal court (ICC), William Hague argued that there was no need for the ICC to get involved. The foreign secretary pointed out that allegations of mistreatment were already being investigated by IHAT, the Iraq historic allegations team established by the British government.
The attorney general, Dominic Grieve, has again rejected the allegation that there was systematic abuse by British forces in Iraq. He added: "The UK government has been, and remains a strong supporter of the ICC and I will provide the office of the prosecutor with whatever is necessary to demonstrate that British justice is following its proper course."
But although Bensouda has now agreed to the re-open the preliminary examination under article 15(2) of the ICC's Rome statute, she has not asked the court to order the formal investigation under article 15(3) that Shiner and ECCHR had also requested. read more>>>