December 9th local time, the International Criminal Court announced that it would suspend preliminary investigations into war crimes committed by British soldiers in Iraq.
According to Reuters on the 9th, Tu Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, said that reasonable evidence had been found to prove that British soldiers in Iraq committed war crimes, including intentional killing, against at least seven Iraqi detainees in 2003. Investigators also found “credible allegations” of British soldiers suspected of torture and rape of Iraqi civilians.
Bensuda said that British soldiers in Iraq were responsible for these atrocities, and the International Criminal Court believed that “the British government would take real action to investigate these crimes”, so the International Criminal Court and her office stopped continuing the investigation of the matter.
In June, independent British investigators investigating Iraq’s war crimes allegations told the BBC that they investigated thousands of complaints, only one of which was rejected.
It is understood that the International Criminal Court can intervene only if the State concerned does not take investigative action. Stopping the investigation does not mean that the incident is not held accountable, but the relevant investigation actions are transferred to the British side for continued operation.
The International Criminal Court’s investigation into war crimes committed by British soldiers in Iraq has not been carried out to the level of “full investigation”, while the International Criminal Court’s full investigation of such cases in the United States has been obstructed by the country.
In June this year, several officials of the International Criminal Court, including Bensouda, were sanctioned by the U.S. government for investigating suspected war crimes committed by the U.S. military in Afghanistan.