Owen Bowcott | The Guardian | July 7, 2011
Britain was an occupying power after the invasion of Iraq and failed to carry out effective investigations into the killing of civilians, the European court of human rights has ruled.
The decision by the Strasbourg court could open the Ministry of Defence to a deluge of claims and add to the pressure for further public inquiries into the behaviour of troops in and around Basra after the 2003 invasion.
By extending liability beyond the UK’s territorial limits and outside Europe, the ruling will have far-reaching implications for military operations around the world.
The case was brought by the Birmingham-based firm Public Interest Lawyers on behalf of Iraqis who claimed their relatives had been variously shot dead, raped, disappeared or tortured by British soldiers between 2003 and 2006.