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"This niche Birmingham firm is well regarded for its work representing individuals in human rights claims. It enjoys a strong reputation for its representation of claimants affected by the war on terror, having acted for Iraqi civilians and the families of British soldiers killed in Iraq. The firm has expertise in international human rights law and acts for Daoud Mousa and nine others in the Baha Mousa public inquiry."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Philip Shiner leads the team and is considered to be "committed, driven, determined and admirable."

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"This public law firm is renowned for its cutting-edge work defending the human rights of individuals connected to the Iraq war. It recently won success in the landmark ECHR case which condemned the UK government for breaching international human rights law for subjecting two Iraqis to the fear of execution in Iraq."

"KEY INDIVIDUALS Philip Shiner is an outstanding civil liberties solicitor who handles "terrific, ground-breaking cases" and "never gives up fighting for his clients."

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High Court declines to order sinle Iraq inquiry: Victims to appeal

In a lengthy judgment handed-down today (21 December 2010), the High Court refused to order that a Public Inquiry be established now into the 100s of allegations of mistreatment of Iraqi civilians in British detention and internment facilities in Iraq.  Instead, it has allowed more time for the Secretary of State for Defence to carry out his own internal investigations – by the Royal Military Police-lead “Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT)”.

 

The High Court has however confirmed earlier findings that the allegations do require an investigation compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights and that together they also give rise to systemic issues which also require investigation, a point that was not conceded by the MoD.  The Court stated:

 

The prevalence of certain types of alleged abuse across a range of facilities and over a lengthy period of time raises questions as to whether such abuse, if it occurred, was the result of specific training or of deliberate policy or practice, or of a failure of supervision or inspection.” (para 113)

 

PIL argued that IHAT had been put in place at the start of 2010 after the judicial review was launched, and that it was a transparent response to the litigation and one which focused on individual soldiers’ culpability rather than an effective means of investigating the systemic causes behind hundreds of allegations that have been made since 2004 onwards.  PIL had been calling for an independent investigation throughout that period. 

 

The allegations had centred in particular on the Joint Forward Interrogation Team, a little-known military interrogation unit which had a permanent presence from 2003 to 2008 at the British internment facilities at, respectively, Camp Bucca, Shaibah Logistics Base and the Contingency Operating Base at Basra Air Station.  A video of one interrogation session was disclosed in connected proceedings and formed part of the evidence in the case (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/08/servicemen-uk-abu-ghraib-court-iraq).  It was only announced during the hearing that War Crimes charges against three soldiers had been referred to the Director of Service Prosecutions in one of the cases, lending further weight to the allegations.

 

Phil Shiner, the Solicitor for all of the Iraqis said today: 

 

We are bitterly disappointed, as are the 100s of Iraqi civilians we represent who will have to wait longer for the independent and effective investigation they have been calling for for years.  Their accounts detail 1000s of instances of sexual, physical and psychological abuse, abuse that clearly had systemic causes which cannot be investigated by an internal MoD investigation manned by the Royal Military Police.  We will appeal this verdict, but it is important to note that the court has not said that a public inquiry is unnecessary.  In our view today’s decision only postpones the independent and effective investigation that must surely take place.”

 

For further information, contact:

Public Interest Lawyers on 0121 515 5069

 

E-mail: info@publicinterestlawyers.co.uk


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