British soldier killed 'unlawfully'

A coroner has ruled that a British soldier who died in a US "friendly fire" attack near the start of the 2003 Iraq war was unlawfully killed.

British soldier killed 'unlawfully'

A coronerhas ruled that a British soldier who died in a US "friendlyfire" attack near the start of the 2003 Iraqwar was unlawfully killed.

AndrewWalker, coroner, said the attack on the convoy of Lance Corporal Matthew"Matty" Hullwas criminal. He also said the USmilitary had failed to co-operate with the inquest into the soldier's death.

 

"I findthere was no lawful authority to fire on the convoy. The attack on the convoytherefore amounted to an assault. It was unlawful because there was no lawfulreason for it and in that respect it was criminal," Walker said.

 

Lessons

Susan Hull,the dead soldier's widow, said that her family felt the verdict was correct.

"Therehave to be lessons learnt," she said. "It's very clear that aftersuch a death evidence is required - full evidence, right from thebeginning.

"Ifthat doesn't happen in circumstances like this then this will all have been invain," she said.

Theinquest, in the southern England city of Oxford, heard the pilot of one of two US A-10"tankbuster" planes opened fire on Hull's clearly-marked armoured vehicle convoyin southern Iraqon March 28, 2003.

Hull, a 25-year-old Britishsoldier, died and four other soldiers were injured in the attack.

Footage

Britain's defence ministry initially saidcockpit footage of the incident did not exist, and the USlater refused to release it when it did emerge.

Thehearing made headlines around the world after the British Sunnewspaper secured a leaked copy of the classified recording. It waslater broadcast on television.

The pilotof one of the USjets said after realising their mistake: "We're in jail, dude."

The other,who opened fire, was heard weeping and saying: "Goddammit."

Walker has criticised the USmilitary's refusal to co-operate with the inquiry. The Pentagon refused toaccede to requests from the British government to send a representative to theinquiry.

US policy is to send a statement, notwitnesses, to such inquests.

As theverdict of unlawful killing was reached, it also emerged that the USfailed to provide a full version of its investigation into the incident and hadturned down a request to give details of its rules of engagement.

Censoredlines

Susan Hullwanted George Bush, the USpresident, to help the inquiry by producing 11 censored lines from an interviewbetween a ground controller and one of the pilots.

In therecording, the pilots are heard convincing themselves that the orange panels ontop of Hull's convoy, whichmarked them out as coalition forces, were Iraqi rocket launchers.

Walker said on Friday: "The pilotschose not to take steps to confirm the identity of the vehicles in the convoythat they could easily have taken.

"Thepilot who opened fire did so with disregard for the rules of engagement andacting outside the protection of the law of armed conflict... I don't think itwas a case of an honest mistake."

GeraldineMcCool, Susan Hull's lawyer, said the unlawful killing verdict did not mean theUSpilot could face a criminal prosecution, nor would they be seeking it.

Nodisciplinary action was taken against the pilots, from the Idaho Air NationalGuard, by the USmilitary.

Source:Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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