§ Lord Marlesford
asked Her Majesty's Government:
- the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence;
- the Chief of the Defence Staff;
- the Permanent Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and
- the Secretary of the Cabinet were aware of, and if so approved, the initial decision that the International Committee of the Red Cross February interim report to Ambassador Bremer on coalition facilities in Iraq should not be shown to Ministers; and on what date it was shown to Ministers. [HL2769]
§ Lord Bach:
The International Committee of the Red Cross's (ICRC) report on the treatment by the coalition forces of prisoners of war and other protected persons by the Geneva Conventions in Iraq during arrest, internment and interrogation, dated 10 February 2004, was formally passed to Ambassador Bremer and Lieutenant General Sanchez on 26 February. An advance copy was passed to the senior British military representative in Iraq and to the Office of the United Kingdom Special Representative. The senior British military representative passed a copy of 90WA the report to HQ MND(SE) on 13 February and to PJHQ on 16 February, and posted a copy to the Ministry of Defence that arrived on 27 February. The Office of the UK Special Representative was assured that allegations involving misconduct by UK forces were already under investigation as were investigations into allegations involving US forces.
The report covered visits that had taken place between three and 11 months earlier. Arrangements had changed significantly since then and the report did not raise any specific cases for the UK which had not already been addressed. A separate report, specifically for the UK, was anticipated and MoD officials took the view that it would be prudent to wait for this report and then provide Ministers with an up-to-date picture and advice on how the UK should respond. Senior officials were not party to this decision.
Defence Ministers were already aware of those issues in the ICRC interim report concerning UK Armed Forces some five months previously, and steps had already been taken to address the specific concerns raised. A copy of the report was sent to defence Ministers' offices on 7 May 2004 and the Foreign Secretary and FCO senior officials were made aware of the report on the weekend of 8–9 May 2004.