UK & World News
Al Sweady Inquiry Into Iraq War Abuse Claims
An inquiry into whether British soldiers committed war crimes during the Iraq War will finally begin in public today, more than three years after it was first ordered.
The Al Sweady Inquiry will be the largest of its kind to date. It will focus on the events of May 14, 2004 and what happened in the hours after.
On that day, British soldiers from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were ambushed while on patrol in southern Iraq by the Mahdi Army.
Reinforcements sent in to help from the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment were also caught in an ambush.
A close-quarter and fierce four-hour fight ensued, at one point the British soldiers fixed bayonets to their rifles and charged their enemy - the first time that had happened since the Falklands Conflict.
It became known as the Battle of Danny Boy, named after a nearby checkpoint.
No British soldiers were killed but 28 Iraqis were and a further nine were taken prisoner.
It is alleged that some were then tortured and in the case of six, murdered, while in British custody at Camp Abu Naji.
Accounts of what happened differ dramatically. The inquiry will endeavour to come to a definitive conclusion.
Over the years there have been accusations and counter-claims from both sides, all of which have resulted in a delay to proceedings.
The incident was initially investigated by the Royal Military Police and latterly the Iraq Historic Allegations Team.
But the independence and objectivity of that was brought into question by lawyers who successfully argued that some of the investigators might have conflicting motives. And so the Al Sweady Inquiry was commissioned by the former defence secretary Bob Ainsworth.
More than 50 Iraqis will give evidence, some in London but the majority in Beirut later in the year. Around 200 British military witnesses will also be questioned.
The inquiry has been named after one of the alleged victims, 19-year-old Hamid al Sweady.
The inquiry chairman, former High Court judge Sir Thayne Forbes, is hoping to report his findings by Christmas 2014.
By then it is estimated that the inquiry will have cost £25m.
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what do you think?
The entire war in Iraq was a crime. Bush had invasion plans ready to go in advance of 9/11. Powell promised a white paper to prove a link between 9/11, WMDS and Iraq - it never came. No WMDS and no link between Iraq and 9/11 (and bin laden) was ever made and the FBI said there is zero evidence of any link. What there was however was $2.3 trillion missing from the defence dept and a whole load of financial transactions to hide regarding the operation to collapse the Russian economy (check out WTC7 on 9/11 to see where the paper work ended up). The project for a new American (neo-con think tank agenda) is still coming along well.
The only war crime was committed by ourbown government. Troops should not be forced into a war that shouldnt have involved them and then be penalised.
A total waste of public money once again on greedy lawyers.