UK soldiers to face war crimes

The men have been charged under the International Criminal Court Act 2001 in connection with the death of an Iraqi, Baha Mousa.

Mousa was a 26-year-old Basra hotel receptionist who died nearly two years ago after being arrested along with other Iraqi civilians.

Corporal Donald Payne of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment is alleged to have killed Mousa and treated other detainees inhumanely.

Payne faces charges of manslaughter, inhuman treatment of persons and perverting the course of justice.

It is further alleged that two other servicemen inhumanely treated the prisoners who sustained injuries following repeated assaults.

The case relates to alleged offences committed against the detainees in the southern Iraqi city of Basra in September 2003.

The three soldiers are among 11 British servicemen who face a range of charges in two separate cases arising from incidents in Iraq in the months after the US-led invasion on March 20, 2003.

The charges came as a new study of casualties in Iraq estimated that nearly 25,000 civilians have been killed since the U-S led invasion.

Based on media reports, the dossier says coalition forces were responsible for more than a third of the deaths.

The survey was conducted by the UK-based Iraq Body Count and Oxford Research group which includes academics and peace activists.

The Iraqi government criticised their conclusions, saying Iraqis were most at risk from the extremists who target them.

In the latest violence, 15 people were killed in rebel attacks.

Thirteen of them were killed in an ambush on a bus as they were going to work at a US army base outside Baquba.

In a blow to Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani three Sunni members of a committee working on Iraq’s draft constitution were murdered.

Their deaths have cast a cloud over hopes that Iraq’s basic law could be ready by the end of the month.