DEF090604 - No. 33

Session 2003-04, 9 June 2004

Terms of Reference for new Inquiry


Terms of Reference for new Inquiry

NEW INQUIRY LAUNCHED INTO BRITISH FORCES' ROLE IN IRAQ

The role of British troops in Iraq both now and after the handover of sovereignty is to come under scrutiny as part of a new inquiry announced today by the Defence Committee.

The focus of the inquiry will be on the continuing responsibilities of British forces in Iraq, their status from the transfer of sovereignty on 30 June 2004 to the end of the UN mandate (31 December 2005), and the likely scale and length of the enduring commitment. The Committee hopes to publish its report before the end of the year.

Announcing the inquiry, Committee Chairman Rt Hon Bruce George MP said:

"British forces have played a crucial role in tackling the vast array of problems that have blighted post-conflict Iraq and they will continue to do so after the handover of sovereignty at the end of this month.

"This inquiry will allow us to look at what work has already been undertaken as well the role that British forces will play after 30 June and the problems and challenges that they will have to overcome.  

"Questions have of course been raised over the conduct of a small minority of coalition troops. Although we will not investigate individual allegations of abuse, an important element of our inquiry will be to examine general relations between British forces and the Iraqi civilian population." 

The full terms of reference for the inquiry are as follows:

  • To examine the continuing responsibilities of British forces and their coalition partners including both the maintenance of security and the promotion of economic and social reconstruction and to explore the nature of their relations with the civilian population;

  • To consider the formal status of those forces before and after the transfer of sovereignty and the implications of that status;

  • To assess the likely scale and length of the continuing British military commitment in Iraq

Details of oral evidence sessions will be announced in due course.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. In March this year the Defence Committee published an extensive report on the Lessons of Iraq, making 131 conclusions and recommendations about the conduct of hostilities. The full report and the government's response can be found on the Committee's website

2. Members of the Committee recently met with British forces in southern Iraq. The fact-finding mission also included a visit to a water treatment plant outside Basra, a number of security sector reform projects within the city and the British temporary detention facility in Shaibah. Meetings were also held with the Coalition Provisional Authority (South) and with local Iraqi politicians.

3. Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon Bruce George MP (Chairman), Mr Crispin Blunt MP, Mr James Cran MP, Mr David Crausby MP, Mike Gapes MP, Mr Mike Hancock CBE MP, Dai Havard MP, Mr Kevan Jones MP, Mr Frank Roy MP, Rachel Squire MP, Peter Viggers MP

4. News Release: No. 32

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