At the behest of British law firm Public Interest Lawyers, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced that it is opening an initial investigation into British military forces’ abuse of Iraqi detainees during the 2003-2008 occupation.
British human rights lawyer Phil Shiner, who heads the law firm, has long been pushing for investigations into the sheer volume of abuse during the Iraq War, and had been trying to get the British government to launch a serious inquiry.
This marks the first time in history the ICC has launched a probe of the United Kingdom. The British Attorney General denied the claims of abuse, and said it was “unlikely” that the probe would move beyond the preliminary stage.
Unlike Britain, which has promised cooperation, the United States has a formal policy of insisting the ICC can’t do anything to US troops or any member of the US government under any circumstances. In 2002 the US passed the “American Service-Members’ Protection Act,” which authorizes any action, up to and including a military invasion of the Netherlands, to free any officials detained by the ICC.