Ministry of Defence Breached Geneva Convention During Iraq War

A High Court judge has today, Thursday 14th December 2017, ruled that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) implemented a flawed and unlawful approach to the detention of civilians during the Iraq war, breaching not only the Human Rights Act but also the Geneva Conventions. Mr Justice Leggatt also ruled that British soldiers subjected Iraqi civilians to inhuman and degrading treatment which included soldiers taking turns running over the backs of detained civilians and hooding them for periods of time.

Today’s judgment follows the first two High Court civil trials which heard allegations of abuse and unlawful detention in relation to four Iraqi civilians who gave evidence in an English courtroom for the first time. The four ‘lead’ cases in the judgment were chosen from a total of over 600 which remain unresolved following the war in Iraq. In his judgment Justice Leggatt made clear that “none of the claimants was engaged in terrorist activities or posed any threat to the security of Iraq”. [para 929]

Sapna Malik, a partner in the international claims team at Leigh Day who represented two of the claimants, said: “These trials took place against an onslaught of political, military and media slurs of Iraqis bringing spurious claims, and strident criticism of us, as lawyers, representing them. Yet we have just witnessed the rule of law in action. Our clients are grateful that the judge approached their claims without any preconception or presumption that allegations of misconduct by British soldiers are inherently unlikely to be true.

“Our clients’ evidence has been tested at length in court and the Ministry of Defence has been found wanting.

Read more: Leigh Day,

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