War crime allegations against British troops were never supported by any credible evidence says Hilary Meredith as ICC closes probe

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is closing a preliminary probe into claims of killings and torture of Iraqi prisoners by British troops between 2003 and 2008 and will not open a full-scale investigation because UK authorities have investigated the allegations.

Hilary Meredith, Chair of Hilary Meredith Solicitors and Visiting Professor of Law and Veterans’ Affairs at the University of Chester, acted for service personnel and veterans under investigation. She is currently in the process of bringing a legal action against the MoD on behalf of service personnel and veterans who were falsely accused and investigated by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT).

Commenting on developments, Hilary Meredith said: “The allegations and repeated investigations into war crimes committed by British forces have never been supported by any credible evidence.

“The ICC is closing its investigation because the allegations against our troops are false.

“The UK’s multiple investigations of potential war crimes was completely shambolic. It can never be allowed to happen ever again. Dame Heather Hallett has already ruled that the allegations against Major Robert Campbell, who was cleared after a 17-year witch hunt, were based on lies, collusion on the part of Iraqi civilians and a possible conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

“The ICC’s decision to close its investigation further confirms Dame Hallet’s report which set out clear, systemic failings by the MoD. Now is the time for the MoD to take responsibility for its failings. There have been clear breaches of the duty of care owed to our brave servicemen and women.

“To tar the whole of the British Army with the failures in training that led to the dreadful Baha Mousa case was completely wrong and unjust. Repeated investigations were totally unsupported by credible evidence.”

Concluded Hilary: “It appears that the complete fear struck off solicitor Phil Shiner injected into the heart of the MoD resulted in panic and ‘Groupthink’ – when a group of people conform in their thinking to the extent that their decision-making has an irrational or dysfunctional outcome – reflecting insufficient challenge and a lack of diversity of thought. It was very much a case of let’s press ahead with these cases as the eyes of the European community are on us – regardless of guilt. The falsely accused have paid a huge price – shattered families, broken marriages, ruined finances, stalled careers, poor mental and physical health.”

The ICC had been looking into the Iraqi allegations since 2014.