If Scotland Yard is really looking for evidence, here it is: Diplomatic relations having been restored with Britain, there is little enthusiasm for a 'war crimes' inquiry
Saturday 27 March 1993
Investigations of war crimes perpetrated by the victors in a conflict are rare. 'The victors can usually shut this kind of thing up,' said a Ministry of Defence official. It was the publication, in 1991, of Lance-Corporal Vincent Bramley's book, Excursion to Hell, with its account of the shooting of Argentine prisoners by British soldiers, that made these alleged crimes an exception.
A preliminary investigation by the Special Investigation Branch of the British military police began early last year. The conclusions were reported to the Ministry of Defence which in turn handed them on to the Crown Prosecution Service. At that point, because the alleged perpetrators would now have left the army, the investigation was taken up by Scotland Yard.
Detectives and forensic experts have visited the Falkland Islands twice in the course of their investigations. Ten days ago, on the second visit, forensic experts were excavating the heavy peat of Mount Longdon.
Eleven years after the Falklands conflict, Britain and Argentina are enjoying a diplomatic honeymoon which both sides fear could be soured by the investigation. It is an election year in Argentina and the possibility of renewed public indignation over the almost forgotten war is viewed with thinly disguised apprehension by President Carlos Menem's government. 'At the moment there is not much of a hue and cry about this subject here,' said a senior government official. 'But it . . . is extremely sensitive.'
Even the Argentine army seems embarrassed. 'I know Carrizo's story,' said Colonel Alfredo Noverasco, the army's spokesman. 'Officially, the army has no position on this. It's up to the British to investigate. I think it's probably a question of judgement, of trying to understand the moment.'
General Jorge Jofre, now retired, commanded the Argentine land forces in the Falklands. 'I never heard of anything like this happening, throughout the war or after it,' he said. 'If it happened, it was something that happens in every war, not accepting surrender through tiredness or fear or because of the loss of comrades. Of course it is not the norm, but since soldiers are men they can deviate from the norm.'
The Argentine army, according to the Ministry of Defence, is conducting its own investigation, the conclusions of which will be forwarded to the ministry of justice and the foreign ministry. But beyond the resurrection of Carrizo's file, with his original account, and a general invitation to any other witnesses or victims to come forward, little appears to have been done.
'They haven't called me to give evidence,' said General Jofre. 'Nor have I heard anything about Scotland Yard investigating here. I will talk to the Argentine army, not to Scotland Yard. I doubt if this investigation will get very far.'
At the end of last year, Scotland Yard notified the Argentine government that it wished to pursue its investigations in Argentina. Fernando Petrella, Argentina's deputy foreign minister, says British investigators are expected in the country within two months and have submitted a list of names of men they wish to interview to the Argentine government. Oscar Carrizo does not know if is on Scotland Yard's list, but will talk to them if he is. 'Why not?' he says. 'It is the truth.'
Life & Style blogs
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Licence fee: What is the BBC charge – and how will the changes affect you?
- 3 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...