Mousa inquiry leads to 73 recommendations
Thursday 08 September 2011
Asking detainees if they have any complaints about their treatment and suggesting Her Majesty's Inspector of Prisons (HMIP) visits battlefield holding centres were among the 73 recommendations inquiry chairman Sir William Gage made today.
The former Court of Appeal judge issued top-to-bottom instructions for the way handling detainees could be improved.
He said his findings, which the Ministry of Defence will consider for implementation, should include "that on entry and exit from a theatre level detention facility, CPERS (captured persons) are proactively asked whether or not they have any complaints concerning their treatment."
He added it was vital this was not done in the presence of the capturing soldiers and there would be "significant benefit" to HMIP providing independent inspections.
Baha Mousa died after being subjected, along with other detainees, to banned conditioning known as the "five techniques".
Sir William's recommendations included:
* The military should know they could be prosecuted for breaching a standing order that should be issued prohibiting hooding, use of white noise, sleep deprivation, wall standing and providing a limited diet.
* That although depriving a prisoner of his sight might be necessary it "must always be capable of being justified by the operational circumstances on the ground", and where possible the detainee should be given an explanation and an official note should be taken.
* Each battlegroup to have a designated Detention Officer focused on co-ordination and management of prisoners and ensuring responsibility "does not 'fall between the cracks"'.
* A senior non-commissioned officer should act as Detention Sergeant responsible for CPERS administration.
* Prompt checks on prisoners' wellbeing after a death in custody.
* Whistleblowers should be given protection and guidance provided about who concerned personnel can report allegations to and possible installation of confidential telephone lines.
* "Demanding" timescales established from moving prisoners away from frontline detention areas "where risks of abuse are greatest".
* Possible ban of very robust questioning, known as the harsh approach - if not banned "the approach should not include an analogy with a military drill sergeant".
* Specific Ministerial approval should be sought before the harsh approach is approved for use in theatre.
* A selection of video recorded interrogations should be supplied to an inspector as part of an auditing process.
* Detainees must undergo a medical within four hours of capture unless impossible and examined by a doctor as soon as practicable.
* CPERS training "woven into the full range of military exercises and training".
* Forces personnel to have discussions and "role play scenarios" about protecting detainees.
* Training materials to include references to UK troops previously breaching the Law of Armed Conflict.
* A review every three years of tactical questioning and interrogation training.
* Military must not teach forces to "maintain the shock of capture" and "prolong the shock of capture".
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