The UK has been forced to pay out compensation to Iraqis who claimed they were detained and tortured by British forces during the occupation of the south-east of the Middle Eastern nation.
The UK’s Ministry of Defense gave £14 million in compensation and cost to hundreds of Iraqis. The pay out will likely not be the end either, as hundreds more claims are still being evaluated as Iraqis learn they are able to bring cases against the UK authorities in London courts, reports The Guardian.
The Ministry of Defense has promised it will launch an investigation for every abuse allegation that is brought forward. They added that the majority of British servicemen and women deployed to Iraq during the time in question were not involved in the torture, but conducted themselves “with the highest standards of integrity.”
Despite the claim, however, human rights groups and lawyers who represent former prisoners disagree. They claim instead that the abuse by British troops was systemic and that military interrogators and guards were responsible for mistreatment. The victims allege that the abuse was in accordance with the service members training in the UK, as well as orderes that were issued while they were in Iraq.
Al Jazeera’a Rory Challands, who was in London to cover the payout, stated:
“[Rather than] a small number of mis-behaving individuals, rights groups say it was a systematic and systemic problem. They say the training that troops had been put through led to these problems, [creating] the kind of environment where abuse might happen … that it was not just a few bad apples.”
The court may order a public inquiry into the Iraqi abuse allegations as well. If they do that, then the responsibility for the systemic abuse suffered by the Middle Eastern nation’s residents would likely be traced up the military chain of command to find out who is responsible.
The Ministry of Defense has said, however, that there is no need for a public inquiry into the allegations. Instead, it has instituted its own investigation group to determine more information about the abuse allegations, as well as prisoner deaths of those in British military custody.
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