Iraq abuse allegations must be probed: Britain

October 24th, 2010 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 24 (IANS) Britain Sunday said allegations of killing of civilians and torture of detainees in Iraq made in leaked US documents posted on WikiLeaks must be properly probed, a media report said.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has previously said he believes the Iraq war was “illegal”, said it was up to the US administration to answer for the actions of its forces, the Daily Telegraph reported Sunday.

His comments contrasted with a statement Saturday by the ministry of defence, which warned that the posting of 400,000 classified US military logs on the WikiLeaks website could endanger the lives of British forces.

“We can bemoan how these leaks occurred, but I think the nature of the allegations made are extraordinarily serious. They are distressing to read about and they are very serious,” Clegg told BBC One.

“I am assuming the US administration will want to provide its own answer. It’s not for us to tell them how to do that.”

Asked if there should be an inquiry into the role of British troops, Clegg said: “I think anything that suggests that basic rules of war, conflict and engagement have been broken or that torture has been in any way condoned are extremely serious and need to be looked at.”

The whistle-blower website Saturday released another 400,000 classified US documents that included details of 15,000 previously unrecorded civilian deaths in Iraq, and showed that US troops routinely overlooked the torture and abuse of detainees by Iraqi forces.

A top UN official Saturday said the US government has a moral duty to investigate whether its officials were involved in torture or complicity in torture following the revelations.

Manfred Nowak, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, had reportedly said that such a duty existed even if the alleged human rights violations dated back to a previous government.

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