Mr Justice Silber has granted permission for 169 Iraqi civilians to seek a judicial review of the decision of the Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, to investigate their claims with the ‘Iraq Historic Allegations Team” (IHAT). The 169 Iraqis seek an independent public inquiry.
The allegations made concern a number of unlawful killings and a vast number of allegations surrounding the UK ‘Joint Forward Interrogation Team’ (JFIT) which operated throughout British operations in Iraq and interrogated hundreds of civilians. The claimants allege that they were held in solitary confinement cells and subjected to a number of techniques to disorientate and debilitate them for the purpose of extracting information, including sleep deprivation, food and water deprivation, hooding, forced nudity, sexual humiliation and repeated and lengthy interrogations.
This is the second judicial review brought by the claimants, the first concluding in a ruling of the Court of Appeal in November 2011 (R (Ali Zaki Mousa) v Secretary of State for Defence  EWCA Civ 1334) that the IHAT was not sufficiently independent for the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1998. In particular, the Court of Appeal ruled that the IHAT, which was substantially comprised of the Royal Military Police (RMP), was not sufficiently independent as the RMP had been intimately involved in detention operations in Iraq.
In response to that judgment, the Secretary of State announced on 26 March 2012 that the RMP element in the IHAT was to be replaced with the Royal Navy Police (RNP). In this second claim, which was lodged on 25 May 2012, the Claimants argue that neither are the RNP independent as the Royal Navy had numerous officers participating in interrogation operations at the JFIT.
The claim is to be heard over a three day period in December 2012.
Phil Shiner, solicitor, of Public Interest Lawyers said today:
“My clients are either relatives of Iraqis unlawfully killed or victims of gross acts of torture and ill-treatment. The MoD make one last desperate effort to avoid accountability and my clients are pleased to have the chance of explaining once again to a court why there must now be an independent inquiry into all these cases.”