UK Army 'sorry' for abuse of Iraqis

February 26th, 2005  

Topic: UK Army 'sorry' for abuse of Iraqis


Source: BBC News

Army 'sorry' for abuse of Iraqis

The UK's top soldier has apologised after three British soldiers were found guilty of abusing Iraqi civilians.

General Sir Michael Jackson made the apology on behalf of the Army "to those Iraqis who were abused and the people of Iraq as a whole".

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said he was "profoundly disturbed" by the case.

Lawyers for L/Cpl Mark Cooley, Cpl Daniel Kenyon and L/Cpl Darren Larkin said the men felt they had been made "scapegoats" for the abuse.

Following a trial in Osnabrueck, Germany, the men were dismissed from the Army in disgrace. Cooley, 25, was jailed for two years while Kenyon, 33, received an 18 month sentence and Larkin, 30, 140 days.

Photos of the incidents at Camp Bread Basket, Basra, in May 2003, have been shown all over the world.

'Difficult job'

General Sir Michael said he wanted to "place on record how appalled and disappointed I was when I first saw those photographs at the outset of the trial".

But he said the case had to be put in the context of the actions of thousands of British servicemen and women who were "continuing to do a most difficult job in Iraq".

General Sir Michael said four other known cases involving allegations of deliberate abuse had been or may be referred to the authorities.

But he added: "You will understand that, for legal reasons I am unable to comment further on these cases."

The fate of the soldiers, from the 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was decided by Judge Advocate Michael Hunter and a panel of seven senior officers.

After the sentences were announced, one of the soldiers' lawyers said his client felt that "a significant number of other soldiers, including many senior to him, some of whom have been promoted, were involved in the mistreatment of Iraqis that day".

These claims were denied by General Sir Michael, who said a "senior, experienced officer" would be appointed to assess "what lessons we need to learn" from this case and other abuse allegations.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said the Army had shown it took such allegations seriously.

He said: "The Army set high standards and demand that they are met. The recent court martial has demonstrated that those who fail to meet those standards are called to account."

The abuse came to light when photographs taken by a fourth soldier, Gary Bartlam, were left in a Staffordshire shop to be developed.

In their defence, the soldiers claimed that the abuse stemmed from an unlawful mission which took place at the aid camp to capture and deter looters.

The mission, codenamed Operation Ali Baba, was ordered by the camp's commanding officer Maj Dan Taylor, who told his troops that the looters should be "worked hard" to stop them returning to Camp Bread Basket.

Prosecutors said the operation was in breach of the Geneva Convention.

General Sir Michael said that although no criminal action had been taken against Maj Taylor, "administrative action" remained a possibility.

In a separate court martial last year, the soldier who took the photos, Bartlam, admitted taking photographs of the Iraqis simulating sex acts.

He was sentenced to 18 months in a youth detention centre and disgracefully discharged from the Army.
February 26th, 2005  
oh. they are sorry

just following orders huh?

when did soldiers stop being people with the ability to stop and think "is what i'm doing the right thing to do.

and it will be the grunts who cop it...slap on the wrist for the CO.
February 26th, 2005  
you can never be sorry for abusing any person
March 1st, 2005  
Originally Posted by Pyro
you can never be sorry for abusing any person
Why not Pyro? Why can't someone regret actions taken against others? I'm confused about your statement.