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Iraq civilian deaths: call for inquest

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 27 August 2010

A group that is tracking the number of civilians who have died in Iraq following the 2003 invasion has told Channel 4 News a judicial inquiry is needed into the cost to Iraqi civilians.

Calls for inquiry into civilian deaths in Iraq

Iraq Body Count (IBC) co-founder John Sloboda told Channel 4 News: "Some of the deaths and injuries caused must have been breaches of British and international law, so some sort of judicial inquiry would seem to be in order." 

A year ago the group wrote to Sir John Chilcot asking that the inquiry, "take full and proper account of Iraqi casualties resulting from the conflict, and the subsequent breakdown in civil security, and that you permit us to submit evidence to the Inquiry on this most crucial question."

So far, the group says that apart from two brief exchanges on the subject of civilian casualties, the issue has not been addressed by the inquiry.

IBC estimates that between 97,000 and 107,000 civilians have died violently as a result of the conflict.

Mr Sloboda said that if lessons were truly to be learned from Iraq, civilian casualties of the conflict needed to be addressed or there could be serious consequences: "If we try to hide the reality of what happened we are going to sow seeds of hatred among those whose trust we are trying to gain and in whose name we said we were doing all of this."

Sir John Chilcot has hinted that the inquiry may travel to Iraq to see for itself the impact of the war but that this was by no means a certainty.

An Iraq Inquiry spokesman told Channel 4 News: “Throughout its work, the Inquiry has been acutely aware of the violence in Iraq which has resulted in the deaths and injuries of so many. The drivers for that violence and the British response to it has been a theme throughout the Inquiry’s investigations.

“From the outset of the Iraq Inquiry, Sir John Chilcot has said that the Committee hopes to visit Iraq and hear from Iraqis. He repeated this at the close of the last round of public hearings. The Committee hope that such a visit will be possible as it would give the Inquiry an opportunity to hear and see at first hand the situation in Iraq and the continuing impact of the violence.

“The insights and understanding gained would inform the Inquiry’s report, which it aims to publish around the turn of the year.”



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