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Liam Fox responds to High Court endorsement of MOD's approach to investigating Iraq abuse

Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox has responded to the High Court ruling in favour of the Ministry of Defence in an action brought by Public Interest Lawyers that called for a single public inquiry into allegations of abuse in Iraq.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said:

We are pleased that the Court has endorsed the MOD’s approach to investigating claims of abuse in Iraq and concluded that it is not necessary to set up a public inquiry now.

We must remember that the overwhelming majority of our Armed forces conducted themselves with decency and honour but there may have been occasional lapses in a very violent conflict. We are determined to investigate these allegations fully and this is why we have established the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) to review alleged cases of abuse independently and identify any action that needs to be taken.

This government does not accept that a public inquiry into these unproven allegations is the best course of action. A costly public inquiry would be unable to investigate individual criminal behaviour or impose punishments.

I now await the conclusions of the IHAT investigations as well as those of the Baha Mousa and Al Sweady public inquiries.

We will oppose Public Interest Lawyer’s application to seek permission to appeal as we do not believe it will have a realistic prospect of success and that it will be a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Published 21 December 2010