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William Hague has dismissed a bid to trigger prosecutions of British politicians and senior military figures over alleged war crimes in Iraq.
The Foreign Secretary said there was no need for the International Criminal Court to investigate allegations of UK forces abusing and killing detainees in their custody.
Individual cases had either already been dealt with by the British authorities or were the subject of probes, he insisted.
Hague told Sky News' Murnaghan programme: "The Government has always been clear and the armed forces have been clear that they absolutely reject allegations of systematic abuses by the British armed forces."
The head of the army, General Sir Peter Wall, ex-defence secretary Geoff Hoon, and former defence minister Adam Ingram are among those named in a 250-page dossier sent to the ICC, according to the Independent on Sunday.
The International Criminal Court has been asked to investigate alleged war crimes in Iraq by British soldiers, it has emerged.
A complaint filed by Berlin-based European Centre for Constitutional Rights and a British law firm has accused UK troops of abusing and killing detainees in their custody.
According to the Independent on Sunday, human rights lawyers have presented a dossier of drawing on the cases of more than 400 Iraqis, arguing they represent "thousands of allegations of mistreatment amounting to war crimes of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".
Phil Shiner, a solicitor from Public Interest Lawyers, told Sky News: "This is historic. The UK has never been investigated by the ICC. There is clear evidence this goes right to the top."
A dossier, reportedly detailing allegations of beatings, electrocution, mock executions and sexual assault of Iraqi detainees has been presented to the International Criminal Court, the Independent on Sunday has reported.
According to the dossier:
- It calls for an investigation into the alleged war crimes under Article 15 of the Rome Statute
- It says "those who bear the greatest responsibility" for alleged war crimes "include individuals at the highest levels" of the British Army and political system
- It states UK military commanders "knew or should have known" that forces under their control "were committing or about to commit war crimes"
- They describe incidents ranging from "hooding" prisoners to burning, electric shocks, threats to kill and "cultural and religious humiliation"
The Ministry of Defence has rejected the suggestion that UK armed forces "systematically tortured" Iraqi detainees, according to the Independent on Sunday, which reported that a complaint had been filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the allegations.
An MoD spokesman said:
The Government has insisted it will fight a bid to trigger prosecutions of former ministers and senior military figures over alleged war crimes in Iraq, according to the Independent on Sunday.
A complaint filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC) has accused British forces of abusing and killing detainees in their custody.
Human rights lawyers have drawn on the cases of more than 400 Iraqis, arguing they represent "thousands of allegations of mistreatment amounting to war crimes of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".
The formal complaint to the ICC was lodged yesterday by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).