Overseas Operations Bill, – Uniquely Reprehensible

London: In 2005, Lord Bingham, giving the judgment of the House of Lords, wrote that ‘torture is… totally repugnant to the fundamental principles of English law’.  This absolute rejection of torture, as an anathema to our national values, is no longer so absolute, judging by the language of the Overseas Operations Bill, which passed its second reading in the House of Commons last week.
This bill reveals a government that is not concerned with upholding the dignity of the British military, ensuring that soldiers who act dishonourably are held to account. Instead, preserving the ‘morale’ of the soldiers is apparently its priority, more concerned with ensuring that the military’s recruitment efforts are buoyant than with respecting international law.
The primary ambition of the bill is ostensibly to protect soldiers from having their conduct in the field unnecessarily scrutinised.  This, in and of itself, is no bad thing. Soldiers operate in unfathomably challenging conditions, facing circumstances that civilians cannot begin to imagine.  Amid the chaos of the battlefield, the fear of prosecution, fear that would do little but distract from any military operation, should be far from soldiers’ minds.  Nor should soldiers worry about every action they took after the event, forced to relive and reconsider all their decisions, trying to decide if they will face a judge and jury for shots fired amid the heat of war
Read more: Nicholas Reed Langen, Justice Gap,

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