Full credit to Prince Harry who has ‘blasted’ an ongoing investigation ‘hounding British soldiers’ over alleged war crime committed during fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.It is understood the royal has labelled both the Iraq Historic Allegations Team and Afghan War-centric Operation Northmoor a ‘joke’.He is said to be ‘deeply concerned’ about the ordeal soldiers are being put through as they face claims of wrongdoing while on active duty.The Prince served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and served as a forward air controller in Helmand Province in 2008 before retraining as a military helicopter pilot and returning for a second tour in 2012.It is believed Prince Harry would support the creation of a Department of Veterans’ Affairs to support troops in their legal cases and stop them ‘being treated like common crooks’.I wholeheartedly agree with Prince Harry and have been campaigning for this for a long time.It is beyond doubt that a proper framework of support – legal, mental health and welfare – for servicemen and women is still urgently needed.Under the armed forces covenant, which sets out the relationship between the nation, the government and the armed forces, this is the very least they deserve.Individual servicemen and women have been abandoned by their chain of command who have no idea of what to do in these unprecedented circumstances. Never before have men and women who fought in war zones on behalf of their country then been sued for compensation by civilians.I have repeatedly asked what happens to veterans who have long since left the military and have no chain of command. Who is supporting them? It has been suggested that they should contact Veterans UK – but this organisation administers the armed forces pension schemes and is totally ill equipped to deal with matters of this magnitude. Neither should service charities be left to plug the gap.I am calling on the MoD to guarantee the following:
–The right to a framework of help and support for serving and ex-military personnel to include, Chain of Command, welfare and medical support.
- –The right to independent legal advice.
- –The right for funding for such advice.
- –The rights to a fair trial.–The rights promised to military personnel under the military covenant.
- –Remedies under The Human Rights Act 1998.Hilary Meredith