Court to review charges against British soldiers

 

The prosecutor of the world's first permanent war crimes court will review a dossier containing allegations of human rights abuses by British troops in Iraq, the court said yesterday.

Members of the Athens Bar Association have called on International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor, Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo, to investigate 22 alleged incidents involving British forces in the war, the court said in a statement.

The Greek lawyers handed a dossier containing 74 press reports and 13 videos of news reports from the war in Iraq to the prosecutor.

"The office of the prosecutor handed a written letter acknowledging receipt of this communication to the members of the association and will review the content of the communication and the dossier," The Hague-based court said.

"Experts of the Athens Bar Association prepared 22 charges referring to specific incidents and requested the office of the prosecutor to exercise the jurisdiction of the court in crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide," the ICC said.

The ICC has received around 500 complaints from 66 countries since the global court came into force in July 2002.

It has not yet initiated a full investigation.

Both Britain and Greece are among 91 countries which recognise and support the court.

More than 100 complaints so far have concerned the US-led war in Iraq, most of those protests against the war itself.

Neither the US nor Iraq back the court.

The ICC, set up to tackle war crimes and crimes against humanity, can act only if national courts cannot or will not, and has jurisdiction solely where crimes were committed by nationals of a state party to the court or on such a state's territory.

The prosecutor said earlier this month that he was focusing on the Democratic Republic of Congo for what could be his maiden formal investigation.