Staffordshire detective to lead Iraq abuse inquiry
INVESTIGATIONS into allegations of abuse by British troops in Iraq will be led by a retired detective from Staffordshire.
The Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) is expected to take two years to investigate dozens of allegations of mistreatment.
The team is led by retired detective chief superintendent Geoff White, the former head of Staffordshire CID, pictured right, and was set up in response to a number of claims of abuse of Iraqis by British personnel.
A full public inquiry remains an option, if IHAT uncovered "serious and systemic" abuse, Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey said yesterday.
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The recent leak of the Iraq war logs has put the spotlight back on the conduct of the U.S. led coalition forces during the war.
A High Court bid has also been launched to hold a public inquiry into the alleged mistreatment of more than 100 Iraqis detained by British troops.
In a statement to Parliament Mr Harvey said: "There are those that argue that the Government should hold a public inquiry into these unproven allegations now, but we disagree.
"A costly public inquiry would be unable to investigate individual criminal behaviour or impose punishments."
But Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox "has not ruled out holding a public inquiry at some point in the future, should serious and systemic issues emerge from IHAT's investigations that might justify it".
It is understood that IHAT is aware of around 90 cases, the circumstances of which relate to 128 complainants.