This week we discuss the critique of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (or IHAT) that it failed to ‘bring justice’ and address the atrocities committed by British troops against Iraqi civilians during the Iraq war. The IHAT investigation lasted from 2010 until its subsequent dissolvement in 2018, running largely in parallel with the Iraq ‘Chilcot’ Inquiry. This post reflects upon an archival Guardian podcast episode from 2018 titled “Why we may never know if British troops committed war crimes in Iraq” and considers the limitations of international criminal justice and legal forms of individualisation in addressing war crimes committed by state soliders.
An Accidental Admission of Guilt?
George W. Bush mistakenly described the Iraq Invasion as “wholly unjustified” and “brutal” in recent speech. In a recent speech on Wednesday (18th May 2022), former United States president George W Bush reminded the world of the ongoing consequences of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and the violence of the intervention.
Weekly Recommendations from WFTA
A quick update on what the Warnings from the Archive team have been listening to/reading/watching this week. The pieces that have caught our interest and develop the themes and topics explored by the project.
This week has seen the return of 337 ancient artefacts to Iraq from a private museum in Lebanon. Further to our discussion in August on the return of over 17,000 artefacts to Iraq that had been looted and stolen in the past few decades, Lebanon has also returned its share of Iraqi artefacts to their rightful homes. The collection of 337 artefacts which included clay tablets dating back to 2,900 BC had been held at the private Nabu Museum between Tripoli and Beirut.
State-Led Inquiries Workshop
On 9th September 2021, we held our virtual workshop ‘State-Led Inquiries as Political Devices: Lessons Learned and Lost from British Interventions, 1853 to the Present Day’ with fascinating contributions from Dr James Strong, Dr Max Drephal, Dr David Saunders, Leyla Belle Drake, Dr Huw Bennett, Dr Louise Kettle, Dr Glen Rangwala, Dr Alan Ingram, and Hannah Richards. We were also incredibly luckly to welcome Professor Richard Toye, Professor Martin Thomas, Dr Tom Bentley, Professor Andrew Williams, and Dr Elspeth van Veeran as discussants for our panellists.
State Violence and Criminal Amnesties
Last week the UK Government announced plans that would see an end to prosecutions, inquests, judicial review and civil claims to 1970s ‘Troubles’ conflict related incidents. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis outlined plans to introduce a bill to parliament which would block all future prosecutions via a statute of limitations from Autumn 2021. This move has pushed commentators, such as Susan McKay, to ask: how much contempt does this government have for Northern Ireland?