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MPs want 'war crimes' investigation


16 December 2001

MPs have demanded an international inquiry into the alleged mistreatment of prisoners in Afghanistan.

Claiming there have been "serious abuses" of humanitarian law, against the protections of the Geneva Conventions, 30 Labour MPs have backed a motion calling on the Government to mount an investigation. They are particularly concerned about reports of events at Mazar-e-Sharif, where it is claimed Taliban forces were executed after surrendering, some with their hands tied behind their backs, and reports of massacres and ill-treatment of prisoners.

Tony Blair has refused to back to such an inquiry but the pressure from his own backbenchers will increase pressure on him to act. Similar calls have been made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Ann Clwyd, the Labour MP behind the motion, said: "I think we have to get to the bottom of this. Some of these incidents may be war crimes. I really believe Britain should be giving its support to an investigation. We can't yell about war crimes and then, if there is a suspicion of war crimes, say there is no need for an inquiry. I find that unacceptable."

Jo Dillon.
Published in The Independent.
2001 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd.



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