The Supreme Court of London has dismissed the claims of 600 Iraqi civilians, who accused British soldiers of unlawfully imprisoning and abusing them in Iraq between 2003-2009. The claims of the atrocities were made against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) under the 1984 Foreign Limitations Periods Act, which allows for cases from Iraq to be heard in UK courts.
The Supreme Court – the UK highest court – dismissed all of the claims for compensation, ruling they had been filed after a time limit to submit cases, imposed by Iraqi law, had expired and had not been suspended.
"The claimants' submission, if accepted, would mean that there was no limitation period at all affecting the present proceedings in England," Supreme Court Justice Lord Sumption told the Guardian.
"The MoD has already settled hundreds of claims by Iraqis in relation to abuse and wrongful detention following the ill-fated war of 2003 under the government led by Tony Blair. A war which will come under close scrutiny in the Chilcot inquiry, which will report in July," said a spokesperson for Leigh Day, the law firm representing the Iraqis.
He added: "This technical judgment has the result of revising the hurdle that the majority of the remaining cases brought by Iraqi civilians against the MoD will have to get over to enable their claims to be heard in the British courts.
"We remain confident in the merits of the test cases going to trial this summer, brought exclusively against the UK government over their role in southern Iraq."