A Government inquiry into allegations that British troops ill-treated and murdered Iraqi citizens has been ruled legally flawed.
Two High Court judges in London have ordered changes, saying: “A new approach is required.”
The decision was a blow to the set-up of Defence Secretary Philip Hammond’s Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), which is currently conducting the inquiry.
The judges declared IHAT was failing to meet the UK’s obligations under Article Two of the European Convention on Human Rights to investigate suspicious deaths involving the state. They called for mini-inquiries in possibly scores of individual cases.
It is alleged that women, the elderly and children were among the victims as British soldiers went in search of people to detain and interrogate following the invasion of Iraq by the coalition led by the US.
It is also alleged that British interrogators were guilty of unlawful killings as well as torture between 2003 and 2009.
Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen’s Bench Division, and Mr Justice Silber said there might be as many as 150-160 cases involving deaths, as well as 700-800 involving mistreatment.