The Ministry of Defence (MOD) closed many hundreds of investigations into ‘lower-level allegations of ill-treatment’ by British troops in Iraq. This term usually appears without reference to international law, and ‘ill-treatment’ is once defined in relation to the English criminal law of assault, so that investigations were closed if the alleged treatment resulted in less than grievous bodily harm. The MOD’s investigatory practice appears conceptually under-inclusive, it fails to grasp the threshold of inhuman or degrading treatment in international human rights law (IHRL), and largely neglects the investigatory obligations in IHRL, international humanitarian law and international criminal law.
Dr Elizabeth Stubbins Bates joins us to discuss the international law implications of the UK’s investigatory practices in the aftermath of the Iraq war. Dr. Stubbins Bates is a Junior Research Fellow in Law at Merton College, an early-career Research Visitor at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, and a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC).