Sweeping war crimes under the carpet
The Sunday Times
We Britons like to believe that we wage war “with as much decency and honor as may be possible,” said Ken Macdonald. But a yearlong investigation by The Sunday Times and the BBC has found there is compelling evidence that British soldiers carried out scores of war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq and that investigations into the abuses are being blocked by the government. Army whistleblowers said that in southern Iraq in 2003, members of the Scottish Black Watch battalion kidnapped local men from their homes and took them hooded and handcuffed to Camp Stephen, an unofficial detention site where they were brutally beaten and made to have sex with one another. Two innocent civilians are believed to have died at the camp. In Afghanistan, a special forces soldier was charged with murdering three Afghan children in 2012, shooting them in the head at close range as they drank tea. But after one British lawyer representing the Iraqis was found to have acted dishonestly, the government used his fraud as “an excuse to close all the inquiries down” as if they had no merit. This was a grave mistake. The U.K. helped set up the International Criminal Court as a venue for prosecuting crimes against humanity when “individual nations were too cowardly, incompetent, or unwilling to bring their own citizens to justice.” Are we now such a nation?