The long awaited Chilcot report is published on Wednesday, with a leading lawyer saying it represents a fork in the road for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
“Predictably, there are already indications that the international courts will be all over Chilcot looking for issues of abuse of war crimes by the British military,” says Hilary Meredith, CEO at Hilary Meredith Solicitors Ltd.
Hilary recently gave evidence at the official Parliamentary inquiry into controversial accusations of unlawful killing against Iraq war veterans. She also gave evidence to the Committee which recently recommended the MoD should be stripped of historic immunity from prosecution when personnel are killed during training when there is a serious failing in its duty of care.
“Recent Parliamentary inquiries have had a seismic impact on the MoD and Chilcot represents a fork in the road. It can bury its head in the sand and hang our soldiers out to dry or it can step up to the plate and show some leadership. Responsibility must come from the top.
“Any potential war crime should be investigated but the MoD should stand behind those accused and offer a framework of support. Those who have served feel deserted by military top brass who fail to offer support.”
“Depressingly, we are already aware of misleading guidance given to our soldiers by the chain of command who then abandon our brave men and women when accused of wrongdoing.
“It has to be wrong that many cases of abuse are fuelled by promises of a fat cheque to the so called Iraqi civilians with legal fees paid for by our taxpayers’ money via the legal aid board. Our military personnel on the other hand are given no funding for independent lawyers to represent them.
“The persecution of our soldiers has to stop. The Al-Sweady inquiry has already exposed the smearing of British soldiers, with false claims that they murdered and tortured innocent Iraqis. Chilcot is an opportunity for the MoD to put out a statement to the world – we support our troops, stand firmly behind them and accept corporate responsibility.”