Families of dead soldiers go to court

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The Independent Online

Families of soldiers who died in attacks on the British army's lightly armoured Snatch Land Rovers in Iraq will fight for compensation in the Supreme Court tomorrow.

Judges will hear claims that three soldiers died because their military vehicles were not suitable for their mission. Lawyers for the relatives of Private Phillip Hewett, 21, from Staffordshire, who died in July 2005, Private Lee Ellis, 23, from Manchester, in 2006 and Lance Corporal Kirk Redpath, 22, from east London, in 2007, will argue the failure of the Ministry of Defence to provide adequate armour and equipment was a breach of the victims' human rights. The MoD has argued that decisions over equipment are a matter for military commanders and not the courts.

Supreme Court judges will be asked to overturn an Appeal Court decision last October to reject the compensation claims. Lawyers say the case could clarify questions about the extent of the military's combat legal immunity.