Het ging hierbij om heel wat ernstiger gevallen dan de ‘martelpraktijken’- en ‘doofput-bij-Defensie’- aantijgingen in de Canard van Jan Hoedeman, gesanctioneerd door hoofdredacteur Pieter Broertjes, in onze Volkskrant.
Het is opvallend dat destijds en ook later, in onze krant geen aandacht is geschonken aan dit lopend Brits onderzoek. Zulks temeer waar het ging om gevallen van vermeende martelingen – waarbij zelfs twee doden zijn gevallen – toen de Nederlandse missie onder operationeel bevel van de aangeklaagde Britten optrad.
Overigens lijkt het me onverstandig dat de Britse Army zelf het uitgebreide onderzoek heeft ingesteld. Waarschijnlijk volgt een civiel strafproces.
A British Army report on the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers in southern Iraq in the first year after the allied invasion in 2003 has concluded that there was no systematic abuse but that there were individual instances where people behaved disgracefully.
The report, released Friday, was quickly denounced by Western human rights organizations, lawyers representing detainees who say they were abused and families of more than 20 Iraqis said to have died while in British military custody.
The report, by Brig. Robert Aitken, the armys chief of personnel strategy, was the outcome of a three-year investigation. Focusing on six cases involving death or injury to Iraqi prisoners, the study found that while a tiny number of British soldiers behaved badly, the vast majority showed courage, loyalty and integrity.
The report carried strong echoes of the investigations conducted by the Pentagon into abuse of Iraqi detainees during the same period at Abu Ghraib prison, near Baghdad. Although some American officers were disciplined, the reports concluded that mistreatment there was mostly the result of actions by individual soldiers and not a matter of systematic failure or responsibility at high levels of the American command.
The British report said a contributory factor in the abuse of detainees at Basra, Amara and other places in southern Iraq that were under British control was the hastiness with which the troops were prepared for deployment and the lack of sufficient troops to handle detainee operations alongside other demands.
At one level, the paucity of planning for nation rebuilding after the invasion (a consequence, in part, of the need to give last-minute diplomacy a chance of success) was certainly a factor in the abuse of Iraqi detainees by British troops, the report found.
The report pointed to inadequate training of British troops, saying there had been scant mention of the treatment of civilian detainees in the training given to more than 40,000 British soldiers involved in the invasion, who, after the American force, were the largest allied component in the invasion. It said most of the troops seemed to be unaware of a ban on practices like hooding, long periods of enforced standing against walls or in stress positions, subjection to noise and deprivation of sleep, food and drink.
Brigadier Aitken told reporters after the reports release that not all of the banned techniques had been used in Iraq, but that some, including hooding, had. He said all British troops preparing for deployment in combat zones should be instructed on approved interrogation practices…