Int’l Criminal Court Should Probe UK Security Services War Crimes
Int’l Criminal Court Should Probe UK Security Services War Crimes: Expert © Flickr/ ashabot
MOSCOW, December 15 (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — A former intelligence officer for MI5, the UK Security Service has lauded the possible investigation by the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) into the British security services’ war crimes involving systematic detainee abuse in Iraq from 2003 until 2008.
“It would be fascinating if some of those cases [of torture] were to get to the International Criminal Court. I think that would be the right place to hear them,” Annie Machon, a former MI5 agent told Sputnik, adding that it would test the competency of the ICC.
In May, the ICC announced it would consider initiating a formal investigation against the United Kingdom. The Court was acting in response to a criminal complaint against senior British military and political figures that was submitted to the ICC in January by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), and the British law firm Public Interest Lawyers (PIL).
In January, ECCHR and PIL submitted further information proving the alleged responsibility of UK officials for war crimes involving the systematic abuse of detainees held in Iraq from 2003 until 2008. The examination was previously concluded in 2006.
Analysts from the ICC Chief Prosecutor’s Office travelled to Britain in July to examine whether the investigation being undertaken by the British Ministry of Defense was thorough in its examination of accusations of torture committed by British soldiers in Iraq.
According to Annie Machon, the UK government should give a reasonable response to the substantial evidence that British soldiers abused terrorist and insurgent suspects. She underlined the two most notable cases. One is Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the Libyan dissident “who was offered as a present by MI6 to Gadhafi for six years of torture back in 2004.” The documentary proof of which came to light after the fall of Gaddafi in 2011.
“Another case is Binyam Mohamed who was a British national who was tortured in quite medieval ways with British intelligence officers present at that time,” Machon said once again undermining that the evidence is there already.
At the same time the former intelligence agent stated that the British Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) tasked with examining the policy, administration and expenditure of the Security Service, Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is not the best fit for the job of investigating the torture allegations.
“There are many-many problems around the ISC involvement in this. Because one, they are not a free parliamentary committee, they are appointees of the prime minister; and two – they have no real powers to investigate this level of allegations, this level of crime,” Machon told Sputnik adding that even if the ISC were to investigate torture cases, it does have a history of providing cover-ups for the intelligence agencies.
She explained that the UK legislation always favours spy agencies who can set the terms of reference to any judicial inquiry ahead of the inquiry. That said, she concluded by saying that spies will be able to dictate the terms of any inquiry.