Although the Government’s disastrous £60 million witch hunt – the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat) – is to be shut down in the summer after seven years, its incompetence and distain for our servicemen and woman continues.
I am acting for servicemen and women being falsely pursued by Ihat. Today I have been told by a solicitor for the MoD that despite agreeing a 14 day deadline to produce written information, the solicitor dealing with the case is on long term paternity leave and the Queen’s Counsel is too busy to respond. Their arrogance is such that they are not requesting an extension of the time, they are just not complying.
The usual courtesy is to ask for an extension of time but this courtesy was not even extended.
This is an example of how little the MoD understands or cares for the plight of those whose lives and careers that have been put on hold as a result of Ihat. Almost 3,500 allegations, including murder and torture, have been reported to Ihat, the vast majority by disgraced solicitor Phil Shiner, who has since been struck off for acting dishonestly in bringing false claims made by Iraqis.
Ihat paid Mr Shiner and his Iraqi agents hundreds of thousands of pounds to help with its investigations. In seven years, the only conviction resulting from Ihat has been one of its own private investigators for the offence of impersonating a police officer.
The parliamentary report branded Ihat “unfit for purpose” and accused the Ministry of Defence of enabling law firms “to generate cases against service personnel at an industrial level”. It recommended that Ihat be shut down immediately having “directly harmed the defence of our nation”.
The matter is so serious it has been the subject of a parliamentary inquiry yet still the MoD fails to care for those who have been wrongly pursued by Ihat and provides no framework of support.
The attitude – “you’ve served your country but now you’re out on your own” – has to stop.
Moral in the military has hit an all time low. I first raised these matters with MoD back in 2015 and nothing has changed.
Those veterans facing judicial process now include the Northern Ireland vets. They have no chain of command and no phone number or way to contact the MoD for support and help. It is a national disgrace.