Home Page

Background

These judicial investigations have been established in response to the High Court’s May 2013 decision in R (ALI ZAKI MOUSA and others) vs. the Secretary of State for Defence. In that judgment the Court held that the arrangements set up for criminal investigations by the Iraq Historic Investigations Team and the Royal Navy Police acting under the Armed Forces Act 2006 are sufficiently independent to meet the requirements of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. But the Court also held that, in a number of cases in which a prosecution did not result, an inquisitorial inquiry modelled on a coroner’s inquest would also be needed in order to involve the public and the families of the deceased to the extent necessary to discharge fully the UK’s investigative obligations under Article 2. The Court provided further direction regarding the specific features of this process in its October 2013 judgment. Sir George Newman, who retired from the High Court Bench in 2007, has consented to chair the first two investigations. Sir George will investigate the death of Mr Naheem Abdullah as a result of injuries sustained at a road block in Maysan Province on 11 May 2003, and the death of Mr Hassan Said as the result of gunshot wounds sustained on 2 August 2003. In these cases those accused were acquitted after early termination of the trial. As a result, an inquisitorial inquiry is needed to meet the requirement for public and family access.

Sir George has been directed not to consider issues of individual or collective culpability. These fatality investigations will serve a similar purpose to a coronial inquest by providing the families of the deceased and the wider public with the fullest possible information as to how they died.

At the conclusion of each of these two investigations, Sir George will publish a report setting out his findings and recommendations.

Further judicial investigations will follow. The precise number and timing of these will depend on the outcome of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team’s investigations into the allegations and any resulting prosecutions.

Overview

1. To fulfill the investigative duties of the State in accordance with Article 2 of the Convention.
2. Each case involves a death which occurred in the course of patrols by soldiers at a time when they were under a duty to maintain law and order in Iraq, being shortly after the end of the combat period of the war of invasion directed against the regime of Saddam Hussein and shortly after the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
3. The actions of the soldiers fall to be investigated, as will the accountability of the State for the actions of the soldiers if it is found that they were involved in the circumstances in which the deaths occurred.
4. An investigation into the State’s accountability will require an examination of the planning and control of the operations as well as the instruction, training and supervision given to the soldiers both before and after the end of the combat period in connection with the maintenance of law and order and in particular the searching of and effecting the arrest of civilians for suspected criminal conduct.  
1. An inquisitorial procedure will be adopted, to include where necessary the examination of witnesses.
2. In order to meet the requirements of accessibility to the family of the deceased and the public there will be public hearings , not limited to the occasions for the examination of witnesses but where there are matters , including documents and statements or the contents of them , which the Inspector has decided should be brought to public attention . These hearings will be made accessible to the Iraqi relatives.
3. A full and detailed set of procedures will be published on the website. The above summary is not intended to be a complete statement in connection with the investigations. Full details appear from the Terms of Reference which have been published on the web site and will appear from the publication of the more detailed set of procedures.
1. Consideration of the documents which have already been made available by the Ministry of Defence to the Inspector and any other documents the Inspector requests to be disclosed to him by anyone having possession of relevant documents.
2. The categories of documents already available to the Inspector include:
a. In both cases the records of the investigations by the RMP [SIB], which include statements taken from eye witnesses and the family of both deceased, statements of the soldiers in each case, transcripts of interviews and video recordings of interviews and statements from the Commanding Officers of the soldiers and other officers.
b. In the case of Abdullah, a limited quantity of documentary material from the court martial hearing which took place in the UK at which eye witnesses from Iraq, including the relatives of the deceased, gave evidence.
c. In the case of Said documents have been requested from the Metropolitan Police Force [the MPS] comprising a record of its investigations as have documents from the Crown Prosecution Service comprising the record of its consideration in connection with the charges laid against a soldier and the subsequent withdrawal of the case listed for trial at the Central Criminal Court .
d. The Inspector will consider the above documents and any other documents he has requested as expeditiously as possible and will publish his progress. There are at present some 10,000 documents to be considered.
3. It is not anticipated that the investigations will stop once all the documents have been considered by the Inspector. It is anticipated that it will be necessary to hear witnesses, further that it will be necessary to hear some witnesses in public. It is anticipated that it will be necessary for further statements to be obtained, including evidence in connection with the context in which the events occurred and the ensuing investigations in Iraq. At all times the Inspector will have in mind the need for the investigations to be effective as well as expeditious.
4. It is anticipated that close attention will need to be given to the law governing the State’s responsibilities for Iraqi citizens and the facts disclosing how those responsibilities were discharged.
5. When the documentation is complete the Inspector will consider the extent to which documentation and transcripts should be available on the website.

Latest News

Progress Statement No. 1

Categories: Statements Video

Iraq Fatality Investigations - Progress Statement No. 1 - 16th July 2014

Read more

Top Areas

Documents

Terms of Reference

Press & Media

Contact Us

<