Fatou Bensouda, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor said on Monday there is a “reasonable basis” to believe that some British soldiers committed war crimes during combat operations in the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Bensouda’s statement said, that in a 74-page report on preliminary inquiries that “there is a reasonable basis to believe that members of the UK armed forces committed war crimes, within the jurisdiction of the Court, against persons in their custody,” he said.
The Hague-based prosecutor in 2014 reopened an initial probe into war crimes allegations relating to prisoner abuse after rights groups and lawyers alleged that at least 1,071 Iraqi detainees were tortured and ill-treated between March 2003 to December 2008.
The same group also alleged that British personnel committed 52 unlawful killings of people in their custody over the same period.
However, a group of lawyers who formed part of the those making the allegations were later found guilty on misconduct charges resulting from a public inquiry. The lawyers’ lead counsellor was struck off.
Bensouda’s office however said individual statements received from those lawyers “could be considered credible enough if substantiated with supporting material” such as detention records, medical certificates and photographs.
Back in 2006, Luis Moreno-Ocampo the world war crimes court’s previous chief prosecutor said he would not open a full probe in Iraq because he did not have enough evidence.
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