Senior UK military and political figures could end up in the dock as 400 victims denounce 'systemic' use of torture and cruelty
General Sir Peter Wall, the head of the British Army; former defence secretary Geoff Hoon; and former defence minister Adam Ingram are among those named in the report, entitled "The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003-2008".
The damning dossier draws on cases of more than 400 Iraqis, representing "thousands of allegations of mistreatment amounting to war crimes of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".
They range from "hooding" prisoners to burning, electric shocks, threats to kill and "cultural and religious humiliation". Other forms of alleged abuse include sexual assault, mock executions, threats of rape, death, and torture.
The formal complaint to the ICC, lodged yesterday, is the cumulation of several years' work by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR). It calls for an investigation into the alleged war crimes, under Article 15 of the Rome Statute.
The dossier, seen by The Independent on Sunday, is the most detailed ever submitted to the ICC's Office of the Prosecutor on war crimes allegedly committed by British forces in Iraq. The court has already acknowledged that there was little doubt that war crimes were committed. In 2006, it concluded: "There was a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court had been committed, namely wilful killing and inhuman treatment." At that time, prosecutors cited the low number of cases – fewer than 20 – as a reason for not mounting an investigation. But, since then, hundreds of other claims have come to light – prompting consideration of the complaint now. It is the start of a process which could result in British politicians and generals being put in the dock on war-crimes charges.