The purpose of this website is not to dispute the fact that the majority of British Army personnel are law abiding and compassionate, or the fact that they operate in an environment that is both physically dangerous, and psychologically challenging. Neither do we deny that many British soldiers have been known to hand out lollipops to the local children, or play football with them as part of a strategy to win their “hearts and minds”
This website does however seek to draw attention to the following facts:-
War Crimes and Criminals
To date, some of the crimes carried out by members of the British Army include:-
• The planning, collusion, and participation in the murder of Irish, UK, and Iraqi citizens(13)
• The murder / illegal killing of unarmed men women and children (14)
• The assault, torture, and murder of civilian prisoners (15)
• The torture, mutilation and murder of captured military prisoners of war (16)
• The supply of weapons, explosives, and intelligence to paramilitary “death squads” (17)
• Perjury, and the destruction / fabrication of evidence in order to protect the guilty (18).
Senior figures in the British Army have withheld information related to such illegal acts, lied to the British Parliament and Government Committees, and even committed perjury in British Courts in order to conceal the truth, and protect the guilty.
A license to kill
In the north of Ireland the number of killings of unarmed civilians by British soldiers is well documented. Between 1970 and 2000 British military personnel were responsible for killing over 300 (1) men, women and children. All of the victims were unarmed, and none posed a threat to the life of the British soldier who carried out the killings. Among the victims are Catholic priests, elderly women, children, and even teenage girls such as Annette McGavigan age 14, who was shot in the back of the head at close range by a member of the British Army.
Recently leaked British government documents reveal the fact that in 1972 British soldiers were given an indemnity from prosecution for any illegal killings of civilians in the north of Ireland, in the British government’s efforts to subdue Irish nationalists / the IRA’s war to resist British rule.
Example killings in Ireland include:
The killing of Kathleen Thompson
On 6 November 1971, Kathleen Thompson, was shot and killed while standing in her back garden by a British Army soldier from the 2nd Battalion Royal Green Jackets. The inquest into her death delivered an open verdict. No British Army soldier was ever prosecuted for her killing. After a nine year campaign her husband received a cheque from the British government for £84.07. He tore it up.
The killing of Stephen McConomy
Stephen McConomy. Age 11 yrs – Shot in the back of the head and killed by a plastic bullet fired by Lance Corporal Nigel Robert Englefield of the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment on 19th April 1982. Lance Corporal Nigel Robert Englefield was never prosecuted for this killing.
The killing of Father Hugh Mullan
On 9th August 1971, Father Hugh Mullan, a curate from Corpus Christi, was shot by British Army soldiers in Sprinfield Park, Belfast, whilst waving a white handkerchief. Witnesses said Father Mullan could be heard praying as he lay dying for at least 10 minutes. No British Army soldier was charged with his murder.
The killing of Patrick Finucane
Pat Finucane, a human rights lawyer from Belfast was murdered in front of his wife and children on 12 February 1989 by members of the UDA. One of those involved in his murder was Brian Nelson a member of the British Army “Force Research Unit”.
The aborted John Stalker investigation
The illegal activities of the British Army Force Research Unit and the British governments “shoot to kill” policy were subsequently investigated by John Stalker the former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police. As part of his investigation John Stalker requested access to official RUC and British Army FRU documents, but on the night of his request a suspicious fire at RUC HQ destroyed them. After a smear campaign and pressure from the RUC and British Army, John Stalker was subsequently removed from the investigation.
From the Bogside to Basra
Following the illegal(23) invasion of Iraq by British / US and coalition Forces members of the British Army have been responsible for the illegal killing of hundreds of Iraqi civilians. The illegal killing of unarmed civilians at road-blocks, during house searches, and even while driving along the highway, has been a common feature since the occupation of Iraq by British and US forces and is already well documented.
Example killings in Iraq include:
The killing of Ather Karen al-Mowafakia
Ather Karen al-Mowafakia, was shot and killed by a British Army soldier at a roadside checkpoint on 29 April 2003. Witnesses have told how he was shot in the abdomen after the door of his car struck a British soldier on the leg when he was getting out of his car. The British Army has held no official enquiry into his killing, and no British Army soldier has been prosecuted.
The killing of Hanan Shmailawi
In Basra, Iraq in 2003, Hanan Shmailawi age 33, was shot by British soldiers from the 1st Battalion, the Kings Regiment, while she was sitting down to supper with her husband and children. She died in hospital a few hours later. No British Army soldier was charged with her murder.
The killing of Hanan Saleh Matrud
Hanan Saleh Matrud 8 years old, was shot and killed by a member of the British Army 1st Battalion of the King’s Regiment, when a Warrior armoured vehicle stopped near an alley that lead to her home. Three or four soldiers got out. A group of children, including Hanan gathered, attracted by the soldiers. Suddenly a soldier aimed and fired a shot that hit Hanan in her lower torso. At first soldiers did not want to take her to hospital, but later did. She died the following day after an operation. No proper investigation was carried out, and no British soldier has been charged with her murder.
The killing of Ahmed Jabbar Kareem Ali
Ahmed Jabbar Kareem Ali, aged 17, was on his way to work with his brother when British soldiers assaulted him. He was badly beaten and then ordered at gunpoint to swim across a river. Weakened from the beating he received from the soldiers, he floundered. He was dead when he was pulled from the river. No British soldier has been charged with his murder.
The killing of prisoners
A few weeks later in a British Army base in Basra, Iraq, six handcuffed and blindfolded civilian Iraqi prisoners, were systematically tortured and beaten to death by British Army soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment (QLR).
The subsequent British Army investigation by Brigadier Robert Aitken, took two year to produce a 38 page report that concluded that the MoD and the British Army were certainly blameless, and that the injuries and deaths of the Iraqi prisoners were attributed to nobody in particular.
The abuse of Human Rights
Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right to life and details a set of guidelines as to what a state must do in order to secure the right to life. These include that an effective official investigation should be held when a person has been killed as a result of the use of force by agents of the state. In order for an investigation to be effective, it must be prompt, thorough, independent and impartial.
The cases referred to on this website clearly indicate that the British Army has consistently violated the right to life of British, Irish, Iraqi civilians, under Article 2 of the ECHR.
According to Amnesty International, the British Army Royal Military Police investigations are shrouded in secrecy and they lack the level of public scrutiny required by Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. As one member of the Royal Military Police was to say about the British Army’s investigative system – “it is not a case of a few rotten apples. It is a rotten barrel with a few good apples”.
Rewarding the Guilty
Of the approximate 300 illegal killings by the British Army in the north of Ireland there has only been three convictions, and two of those only served two years imprisonment, the soldiers continued to receive their British Army pay during their term of imprisonment, and were later re-instated to their regiments, and subsequently promoted.
In regards to the illegal killing of civilians by British Army soldiers in Iraq, there has only been one conviction – Corporal Donald Payne who was cleared of manslaughter, but he had previously admitted “inhumane treatment” – becoming the first British soldier ever to plead guilty to a war crime. Six other soldiers from the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, now the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, (King’s, Lancashire and Border) were all acquitted. Corporal Donald Payne served just over 1 year in prison.
*Of the 27 unarmed civilians who were shot by the British Army on Bloody Sunday only 13 survived. 13 died from their injuries on the day itself while a 14th (fifty nine year old John Johnson) died from his wounds four months later.
References and Sources
1. Deaths in the north of Ireland
2. Iraq and Afghan Civilian deaths
3. UK legal claims by victims of British Army
4. Deaths in British Army custody
5. Baha Mousa Inquiry
6. Bloody Sunday Inquiry
7. UN Charter of Human Rights
8. Corporals convicted of murder and re-instated
9. FRU involvement in murder of Patrick Finucane
10. British Army torture of prisoners
11. Shoot to Kill sanctioned by Margaret Thatcher
12. Actions of the FRU
13. The planning, collusion, and participation in the murder of Irish, UK, and Iraqi citizens
14. The murder / illegal killing of unarmed men women and children
15. The assault, torture, and murder of civilian prisoners
16. The torture, mutilation and murder of captured “insurgents”
17. The supply of weapons, explosives, and intelligence to paramilitary “death squads”
18. Perjury, and the destruction / fabrication of evidence in order to protect the guilty
19. Superficial manner of investigating British Army killings
20. Sprinhill and Ballymurphy massacres
21. Father Peter Madden
22. The fabrication of evidence
23. Kofi Annan on legality of Iraq War
24. Purposes of the United Nations
25. The Aitken Report
26. A few good apples
27. Col Dudley Giles retains his job
28. Convicted British Army servicemen re-instated
29. The Black and Tans atrocities in Ireland