families of the 6 soldiers from the Royal Military Police
who died at Al Majarr Al Kabir on 24 June 2003 attended
a meeting with senior Army officers today. This meeting
has given the families an opportunity to ask detailed
questions about the Board of Inquiry and other matters
related to the incident in which their loved ones died.
understand completely their desire to find out what
happened on that fateful day and we too remain committed
to doing whatever we can to bring those responsible
for this crime to justice. The Royal Military Police
Special Investigation Branch conducted an extensive
criminal investigation, which has been referred to the
Central Criminal Court of Iraq. Separately, the Board
of Inquiry which was a thorough examination of
the circumstances leading up to the incident in which
the 6 soldiers died concluded in November last
year, and we have been completely open in discussing
the Boards findings with the families.
have gone to great lengths to brief the families in
detail about the Board of Inquiry and we remain committed
to keeping them informed of any other significant developments
in connection with this incident. However, these will
now largely be concerned with the criminal investigation
in Iraq, with which we are giving our full assistance,
and the inquest, which are matters for the Iraqi authorities
and Her Majestys Coroner respectively.
also provided the families with further information
about the decision not to take administrative action
against any individual in connection with this incident.
This was a thorough, robust internal disciplinary process.
It was essential that the witnesses called to give evidence
to the Board were able to talk candidly and therefore
the details must remain in confidence. We stress that
the decision not to sanction anyone was taken only after
very careful consideration of the evidence.
Board of Inquiry was an internal inquiry conducted under
statutory procedures, its purpose being to establish
the facts and to make recommendations to prevent a recurrence.
A Board of Inquiry does not subsume or replace police
or coroner investigations. Indeed, in accordance with
Queens Regulations, the Board was explicitly directed
not to attribute blame or recommend disciplinary action.
These are governed by separate processes.
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