Families of British soldiers begin court bid to force war inquiry

The legal battle is being waged by 17 families, including Rose Gentle, whose son, Gordon, 19, was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in June last year, and Reg Keys, father of Tom Keys, one of six Redcaps killed by an Iraqi mob in June 2003.

Legal documents to be lodged at the court in London set out the case for a full independent inquiry into the legality of the war and the circumstances that led to the deaths of the soldiers. Lawyers for the families argue that under the Human Rights Act the Government has a duty to establish such an inquiry.

But ministers have refused the families' request, arguing that the war was legal. The families now intend to rely on the advice given by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, to ministers in the run-up to the conflict. The Attorney General's advice was leaked to the media during this year's general election campaign.

The families want the inquiry to cross-examine the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the Defence Secretary at the time, Geoff Hoon, and the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. They want the inquiry to establish why Lord Boyce, the former chief of defence staff, was given an unequivocal assurance that the war was legal.

Mrs Gentle said: "I now know that we are closer to establishing the truth about the war in Iraq and the dishonest way in which we were led to war."

Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, representing the families, said he hoped the courts would hear the application for judicial review as quickly as possible. "Given the numbers involved and that the deaths occurred some considerable time ago, the families' lawyers will be requesting that the case be dealt with urgently," he said. "If that request is granted, there could be a hearing of this application before the end of 2005."

Last month, Mr Keys claimed that the London bombings were an "inevitable" consequence of the war. Mr Keys stood as an anti-war candidate in Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency in the election. He said: "I've always been of the firm belief that you cannot go to a war at this scale [and] kill over 100,000 innocent civilians without there being a price to pay."

He called for a staged withdrawal from Iraq, and said there could be more attacks if it did not happen.

The case is being supported by the Stop the War Coalition and Military Families Against the War.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine