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Ex-UK defense chiefs argue against trying British soldiers for Iraq conduct

[JURIST] Britain's most senior military figures in the House of Lords Thursday assailed the UK Ministry of Defense [official website] for subjecting soldiers to litigation arising out of their conduct in Iraq. The English Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, is shortly expected to announce charges against soldiers arising from the murder of Baha Mousa [Guardian report] and other Iraqis allegedly abused by UK personnel in September 2003. Lord Boyce, chief of defense staff during the war in Iraq, declared that potential litigation against British soldiers was harmful to "the close relationship between the commanding officer and his or her people." Boyce stated, "Our armed forces are under legal siege and are being pushed in the direction in which an order could be seen as improper or legally unsound. They are being pushed by people not schooled in operations but only in political correctness." Another former defense head, Lord Bramall, added that Britain's refusal to get an International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] opt-out for its military, as France had done, has had harmful effects, as without the opt-out, British soldiers can be charged with war crimes in the ICC. The Guardian has more.

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