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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