Statements to Detail ‘Systemic’ British Abuse of Iraqis During Occupation

Lawyer to Present Testimony to High Court

by Jason Ditz, January 24, 2013

British human rights lawyer Phil Shiner is poised to provide broad evidence collected from hundreds of Iraqis describing the “systemic” abuse of prisoners by British soldiers during the Iraqi occupation.

The first round of statements is to be presented to a London high court on Tuesday, and will include reports of both physical and sexual abuse by British soldiers. 180 statements are to be presented Tuesday, with nearly a thousand more expected in the future.

Shiner says that British government claims of “bad apples” in the military doesn’t stand up to the sheer volume of abuse claims, and that along with training materials and policy documents shows that violence against Iraqi detainees was an inherent part of British government practice.

The argument is not simply rhetorical. If the British court concludes that the abuse was indeed “systemic,” it would oblige the British government to launch a full inquiry into the abuse as a member of the European Convention on Human Rights. The British government has mostly shrugged off such claims, citing national security, and claiming that incidents in which detainees were beaten to death were “isolated.”

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