Boko Haram abduction: US and UK step up military effort to find girls

Surveillance planes fly over remote forest area where jihadist militants are thought to be holding more than 200 schoolgirls

The US and Britain have stepped up military assistance to the Nigerian government as part of a mounting international effort to find and rescue more than 200 teenage girls abducted by Islamist militants almost a month ago.

US surveillance planes have begun flying missions over a remote area of the country, and Washington has also sent experts to “dig in on the search” and provided the government with satellite images.

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War crimes examination hinges on ICC confidence in UK inquiry into allegations | Joshua Rozenberg

Move cannot lead to prosecutions if court believes UK authorities are conducting genuine investigations

The re-opened preliminary examination of allegations that British troops abused Iraqi detainees between 2003 and 2008 is the last thing the government must have wanted. In January, when Phil Shiner’s firm Public Interest Lawyers and a Berlin-based litigation pressure group known as ECCHR sent a 250-page complaint to Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the international criminal court (ICC), William Hague argued that there was no need for the ICC to get involved. The foreign secretary pointed out that allegations of mistreatment were already being investigated by IHAT, the Iraq historic allegations team established by the British government.

The attorney general, Dominic Grieve, has again rejected the allegation that there was systematic abuse by British forces in Iraq. He added: “The UK government has been, and remains a strong supporter of the ICC and I will provide the office of the prosecutor with whatever is necessary to demonstrate that British justice is following its proper course.”

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Films of UK army interrogations in Iraq ‘show the good, the bad and the ugly’

With efforts to force a public inquiry proving unsuccessful, a cache of at least 2,626 recordings remains mostly unseen

ICC to investigate claims that British troops carried out war crimes

Not long after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Mercer, then the British military’s most senior lawyer in the country, paid a visit to an interrogation centre that the army’s intelligence corps had established near Basra.

He was appalled by what he saw.

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ICC to investigate claims that British troops carried out war crimes in Iraq

Court to conduct preliminary examination of around 60 alleged cases of unlawful killing and claims of mistreatment

Allegations that British troops were responsible for a series of war crimes following the invasion of Iraq are to be examined by the international criminal court (ICC) at the Hague, officials have announced.

The court is to conduct a preliminary examination of around 60 alleged cases of unlawful killing and claims that more than 170 Iraqis were mistreated while in British military custody.

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The only truth about torture is in our own morally bankrupt stance | Andrew Brown

Amnesty International report highlights how torture seldom works as a way to gain information, rather it leads to twisted testimony

Amnesty International has polled the British people and discovered that nearly a third of us think torture can sometimes be justified. Across the world, the figure is generally higher except in a couple of countries, most notably Spain and Argentina, which have within living memory passed from being military dictatorships which used torture routinely to democracies which don’t.

Yet there are also large majorities in almost all countries polled for bans on torture. It seems that it is one of those crimes which we believe should only be committed when we are certain to profit from it; that we believe works but should only be resorted to when all other means have failed. So it is worth examining why and when it works.

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