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Families of soldiers killed in Iraq lose fight for public inquiry

Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian


Wednesday December 21, 2005


Families of British soldiers killed in Iraq failed to force the government to hold a public inquiry into why Britain went to war yesterday. They want Tony Blair "to be held accountable" for taking the country into a war which they say was unlawful and "based on a series of lies".

Rabinder Singh QC argued on behalf of the families that article two of the European convention on human rights obliged the state to conduct a proper investigation when lives were lost. That obligation could only be disregarded in relation to Iraq if the war was lawful under international and domestic law, he said.

But Mr Justice Collins ruled yesterday that the familes had not made an "arguable case" for the high court to consider.

Rose Gentle, from Glasgow, whose son Gordon, 19, was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra last year, was one of those who brought the case. She said after the ruling: "The families believe the decision to invade Iraq was based on deceit and lies. Our sons and husbands were sent to their deaths on the backs of these lies. Their deaths were unnecessary, as were the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi people."

Peter Brierley, whose son died in March 2003 in a road traffic accident while on active service in Iraq, said : "I had always believed that weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq. I could not believe anyone, particularly our government, would put anyone's lives at risk for a lie."

Lindsey German of Stop the War Coalition said: "We obviously haven't heard the judge's reasons but we feel it is overwhelmingly in the public interest for a full inquiry to be heard."


:: Article nr. 18875 sent on 21-dec-2005 03:06 ECT

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Link: www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1671740,00.html



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