At Cameron’s Behest, Britain Drops 58 Inquiries Into Iraq War Crimes

Former Chief Legal Adviser Slams Crackdown on Legal Claims

Facing calls from Prime Minister David Cameron to “clamp down” on lawyers involved in lawsuits involving British war crimes in Iraq, the Defense Ministry today announced it is dropping 58 investigations into “unlawful killings.”

Cameron’s Conservative Party has complained that it is “intolerable” to allow troops who have served in war to face the burden of being charged for war crimes afterwards. Several attributed the charges to “money-grabbing lawyers.”

Yet Lt. Col. Nicholas Mercer, the former chief Army legal adviser in Iraq, was harshly critical of the move, saying the government has already had to pay off nearly $30 million after losing previous cases, saying the defense ministry “don’t pay out for nothing” and that many of the claims were legitimate.

The Defense Ministry, however, has accused several of the complaints of coming from the Mahdi Army about detainees being murdered in custody, saying they are obviously “deliberate lies” related to the Shi’ite militia’s opposition to the British involvement in the occupation.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.