British PM responds to criticism over Iraqi and Afghan legal claims
The British prime minister, Theresa May has responded to criticism over the high payouts to war victims in Iraq and Afghanistan and has vowed to protect the UK armed forces by suspending the European Convention for Human Rights where necessary to avoid paying compensation.
May has come under increasing pressure from her ruling Conservative Party who are angry that the government has spent millions of pounds on what they claimed were ‘spurious’ legal cases.
The claims follow alleged systematic abuses carried out by British forces after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the invasion of Afghanistan two years earlier. Since 2004, it’s reported that the Defence Ministry has spent £100m on Iraqi-related investigations, enquiries and compensation.
The UK Defence Minister, Michael Fallon said the British legal system had been abused to make false claims against British troops on an ‘industrial’ scale.
It follows a formal apology made by the Ministry of Defence last month after an enquiry found that action by UK soldiers was ‘plain and certain’ the cause of the death of 15-year-old Ahmed Jabaar Kareem Ali who drowned in a canal after being forced allegedly at gunpoint to enter the water as a punishment for stealing in May 2003.
The Defence Secretary speaking of the distress caused to the soldiers who risk their lives during the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan said that he feared claims that costs taxpayers in the UK millions of pounds could prevent the Armed Forces from ‘doing their job’.
The Prime Minister condemned some legal claims as ‘vexatious’ affecting, what she described, 'the best Armed Forces in the world and the men and women who had made huge sacrifices to keep the country safe.’