Dossier accusing UK politicians of Iraq war crimes goes to ICC
January 12, 2014 • 6:17PM

A dossier detailing reports of sexual assault, torture and mock executions carried out by British soldiers in Iraq was submitted on Saturday to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by Public Interest Lawyers and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

The 250-page document entitled "The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003-2008," published by the German-based European Centre for Constitutional Human Rights, calls for "opening of an investigation into the actions of senior British officials during the conflict."

The document compiles testimonies from over 400 Iraqis, constituting thousands of allegations of mistreatment amounting to war crimes of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Among the documented crimes are brutal acts of physical abuse, including hooding prisoners, electric shocks, burning, sexual assault, cultural and religious humiliation, rape and simulated executions.

Given the scope and systematic nature of the crimes between 2003 and 2008, the Center for Constitutional Human Rights lays the blame at the feet of individuals at the highest levels of the UK army and political system. The report alleges that members of the UK government were aware, or should have been aware, of the abuses being committed by their soldiers, but even so, failed to act.

"Civilian superiors knew or consciously disregarded information at their disposal, which clearly indicated that UK services personnel were committing war crimes in Iraq," writes the report. It highlights a number of British politicians alleging their guilt of war crimes. It is not reported whether Tony Blair is named, although an article today in the Independent features a photo of him visiting British troops. Ex-defense secretary, Geoff Hoon, and army chief, General Sir Peter Wall, and former defense minister Adam Ingram are just three of the high-ranking politicians implicated in the systematic abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

The complaint argues that "the pattern of abusive treatment by UK services personnel in Iraq continued over almost six years of military operations", as quoted by the Independent on Sunday, and calls for an investigation into the alleged war crimes, under Article 15 of the Rome Statute.

The report will be publicly released at the Law Society, London, on Tuesday. Given that the ICC has only targeted Africa and Africans up to now for war crimes, the fact that the British Empire is now being targeted with this complaint will certainly put the ICC on the spot.