Court critical of Army's inquiry into Iraqi death

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The Independent Online

The death of an Iraqi civilian, allegedly killed by British soldiers, must be fully and independently investigated, lawyers said yesterday after the Court of Appeal criticised the way the Army had handled murder inquiries in the aftermath of the invasion.

Baha Mousa, a 26-year-old hotel receptionist, was killed in September 2003 while in British custody in southern Iraq. Three judges said the investigation was inadequate and ruled that in future all such inquiries must comply with the Human Rights Act.

The judges rejected the Government's challenge to an earlier ruling by the High Court, adding that there were serious shortcomings in the way the military conducted such inquiries.

Both sides in the case were given permission to seek a final ruling from the House of Lords, the highest court in the land.

The families of five other Iraqis killed in different incidents in Basra but who were not being detained were told their cases were not covered by UK human rights law.