On the same day as the news of David Cameron courting of Putin emerged, further revelations were released accusing the UK military and government of perpetrating war crimes in Iraq.
A 250 page dossier was submitted to the International Criminal Court detailing allegations of beatings, electrocution, mock executions and sexual assault. (full report) This covers cases of more than 400 Iraqis relating to 1000s of incidents. The ICC had already concluded that “There was a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court had been committed, namely wilful killing and inhuman treatment.”
The latest document compiles what is describes as “systematic use of brutal violence, that at times resulted in the death of detainees, while in the custody of UK Services Personnel“. (which is published today) It calls for senior political and military figures – General Sir Peter Wall, former head of the British Army, former defence secretary Geoff Hoon, and former defence minister Adam Ingram – to face prosecution.
Human rights lawyer Phil Shiner said, “Here we have very clear material [evidence] that a western state has committed war crimes of torture, wilful killing, cruel and inhuman treatment, gross humiliation. Those war crimes need to be properly investigated and those at the top of the chain of command need to be held accountable.”
Scotland’s place in the world
These events relate to the question of global citizenship and Scotland’s place in the world. The major difference between support for further devolution and independence is control over foreign affairs, defence and representation in the United Nations and European Union.
The piece I wrote documenting UK arms sales, the use of chemical weapons, support for dictatorships, military intervention and torture, demonstrates that Westminster is not a force for good in the world.
Scotland, in contrast, will take on the more reasonable responsibilities of a medium sized nation similar to the models of best practice exemplified by Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Ireland – which are ranked 2nd, 1st, 9th, 11th and 12th in the Global Peace Index compared to the UK in 44th.
What can be more ambitious, what can be more outward looking, what can be more urgent than contributing to that peace?