UK appeals court turns down Iraq war inquiry bid

[JURIST] The UK Court of Appeal on Tuesday rejected [judgment text] an attempt to force the government to hold a public inquiry into the UK's decision to go to war in Iraq [JURIST report]. Two mothers of soldiers appealed a lower court decision [text; JURIST report] that they could not challenge the government's refusal to hold a public inquiry. The families sought to argue that the refusal violates Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights [PDF text] requiring that a proper, adequate investigation be conducted when lives are lost.

The Court of Appeal expressed sympathy for the soldiers' families, but said that the decision not establish an inquiry was one for the executive, not the courts:

The only question which will not be investigated is the invasion question, namely whether the government took reasonable steps to be satisfied that the invasion of Iraq was lawful under the principles of public international law. We have reached the conclusion that the United Kingdom is not obliged to set up an independent inquiry into that question under article 2 of the Convention. Such an inquiry would inevitably involve, not only questions of international law, but also questions of policy, which are essentially matters for the executive and not the courts. The Convention does not contemplate that an inquiry set up pursuant to article 2 will consider either questions of international law or questions of policy.
The families will likely appeal the ruling to the UK Law Lords. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.


 

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