British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace
British Defense Minister Ben Wallace announced that the independent investigation into more than 1,200 complaints against British soldiers accused of committing war crimes in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 ended without prosecutions.
The minister said in a letter to parliament today, Tuesday, that the agency responsible for the independent investigation, which has seen 1,291 allegations since July 2017, “officially closed its doors.”
He added that although 178 charges were brought and investigated through 55 separate mechanisms, no soldier was ultimately prosecuted.
He added that five people were referred to the prosecution in 2019, but no charges were brought against them, pointing to the “great challenge” in the credibility of the charges against them.
He noted that in some cases, investigations conducted by the military police “under difficult conditions on the battlefield” did not result in “obtaining all the required evidence, which means that opportunities to hold those responsible to account may have been lost.”
The British army participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq as part of a US-led coalition, and London subsequently kept troops in the country.
The British Ministry of Defense announced in 2012 that it had paid 15.1 million pounds sterling to more than 200 Iraqis who accused British soldiers of illegal detention and torture.