UK gov’t authorized ‘war crimes’ in Iraq
New explosive revelations show British soldiers have tortured Iraqi civilians who were hooded, strip-naked and assaulted in secret black jails under direct authority of the Ministry of Defense and in blatant violation of Geneva Conventions on rights of victims of war.
The shocking abuse, sanctioned by the senior Ministry of Defense (MoD) lawyers, was carried out in a network of secret prisons in Iraq, including at a deserted phosphate mine site, after the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, in blatant breaches of international and human right law.
The torture led to the death of at least one civilian who was beaten to death aboard an RAF helicopter while 63 others remain missing after being flown to a “black site” prison at an oil pipeline pumping station, The Daily Mail reported.
The chief British Army lawyer in Iraq during the 2003 invasion, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Mercer, who should have been informed of the tortures, but was kept “totally in the dark” said the incident in the secret prisons amount to “war crimes.”
“The allegations are blatant violations of the Geneva Conventions and UN Convention Against Torture. If indeed prisoners were rendered beyond Iraq’s borders, then this is potentially one of the most serious war crimes under the Rome Statute,” Mercer said.
Mercer added that the “prisoner facility operated entirely outside the normal chain of command” and warned the government can deny all charges related to the facility if it manages to get its controversial secret justice plans into the law.
The government is now pushing the Justice and Security Bill through the Commons that allows confidential documents offered by the security services in the courts in defense of itself to be withheld from other parties.
The coincidence of the revelations by a number of victims of the abuse in the secret prisons who are taking legal action with the government’s secret justice plans has raised fears that officials can bury their flagrant violations of human rights and the international law for ever.
“I find it remarkable that I knew nothing about it at the time. What is clear now is that, if the Justice and Security Bill does become law, the truth may never come out,” Mercer said.
“These are alleged war crimes, but what Britain did may never be disclosed. Indeed, the Bill may be specifically designed to prevent such allegations ever coming to light,” he added.
“The allegations are blatant violations of the Geneva Conventions and UN Convention Against Torture. If indeed prisoners were rendered beyond Iraq’s borders, then this is potentially one of the most serious war crimes under the Rome Statute.” Former chief British Army lawyer in Iraq Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Mercer
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