Over the weekend, a large, 250-page dossier was presented to the International Criminal Court alleging the leading British military figures were complicit in war crimes during the occupation of Iraq. The reports is titled "The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003-2008" and was compiled by Public Interest Lawyers and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights.
Detailing the cases of more than 400 Iraqis, the reports claims that various punishments were inflicted on detainees:
They range from "hooding" prisoners to burning, electric shocks, threats to kill and "cultural and religious humiliation". Other forms of alleged abuse include sexual assault, mock executions, threats of rape, death, and torture.
The ICC has come under criticism recently for not focusing enough on crimes committed by Western nations. Last October, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom criticized what he perceived as a double standard towards how the Court addresses African countries versus the rest of the world.
The dossier's authors believe that the sheer breadth of the report warrants further investigation, though the ICC receives dozens every year and proceeds on only a few of them. The ICC also only investigates allegations if national jurisdictions are unable or unwilling to do so. British Foreign Secretary William Hague stated, "We reject any allegations of systematic abuse. But where there are substantiated allegations of things going wrong these things have been or are being investigated."
According to The Independent, only a handful of British officers have been court-martialed for misconduct in Iraq, and only one of those resulted in a conviction, back in 2007.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.