British special forces operators may be investigated for the first time over war crime allegations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said.
A BBC Panorama program claims that the killings of civilians during the conflicts in recent history have been covered up by the state. The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the allegations are unsupported but the ICC is reportedly taking the accusations ‘very seriously’, the Daily Mail reported.
Leaked documents allegedly contain evidence implicating British troops in killing children and the torture of civilians. The ICC has previously concluded it was credible British troops committed war crimes in Iraq related to the mistreatment of detainees.
The year-long investigation claims to have found evidence of murders by an SAS operator, as well as deaths in custody, beatings, torture and sexual abuse of detainees by members of the Black Watch. A senior SAS commander was referred to prosecutors for attempting to pervert the course of justice, the investigation claims.
The BBC/Sunday Times investigation said it had new evidence from inside the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), which investigated alleged war crimes committed by British soldiers in Iraq, and Operation Northmoor, which investigated alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.
The British Government closed IHAT and Operation Northmoor in 2017, after Phil Shiner, a counselor who had taken more than 1,000 cases to IHAT, was struck off from practicing law amid accusations that he had paid people in Iraq to find clients.