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British soldiers target commanding officer in Iraqi abuse trial

[JURIST] At a court martial that resumed Friday at a British military base in Osnabrueck Germany after the defense requested a temporary halt [JURIST report], a lawyer for one of three British soldiers charged with abusing Iraqi detainees accused their commanding officer, Major Dan Taylor, of issuing the orders that led to the abuse. Corporal Daniel Kenyon and lance corporals Mark Cooley and Darren Larkin are accused of mistreating Iraqi civilians during an operation near Basra in May 2003. Major Taylor had directed his troopers to take looters caught stealing humanitarian aid and work them "hard"; the British Army has acknowledged that his directive was contrary to terms of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit forcing civilians to work (see Article 40 of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, specifying that "Protected persons may be compelled to work only to the same extent as nationals of the Party to the conflict in whose territory they are."). Taylor himself has not been charged, however, as his order has been characterized as being merely overzealous. The incident led to photos [JURIST report] reminiscent of Abu Ghraib. Reuters has more. Saturday's Guardian has local coverage.

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