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Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements exist for any UK-based law enforcement agency to investigate allegations of misconduct by (a) British nationals and (b) nationals of other countries, other than Iraqis, who are employees of private military or security companies contracted to work in Iraq by his Department; and if he will make a statement. (203692)

If any personnel employed by organisations contracted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) were suspected of committing a crime in Iraq but appeared to be immune from Iraqi legal process, the FCO would refer them to the disciplinary authority of their employing organisation with a view to having them removed from our contract in Iraq and would also bring the matter to the attention of the UK police and/or the authorities of the individual's nationality. The decision whether to pursue a criminal investigation and ultimately whether a prosecution should be undertaken in an individual case would be a matter for the police and prosecuting authorities, acting independently from the Government.

In the case of suspected non-criminal misconduct, we would take up the matter with the employing organisation, and either investigate the matter or have the employing organisation do so and report back to us, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the allegations.