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US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

The ICC is on the threshold of launching a formal investigation into possible war crimes by British forces

The United Kingdom may be investigated for possible war crimes, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said.

The ICC’s statement comes on the heels of a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and the BBC’s Panorama programme.

The joint investigation unearthed evidence of war crimes by British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The year-long investigation has reportedly discovered evidence of murders by British Special Forces serving in the notorious Special Air Service (SAS).

It also unearthed evidence of deaths in custody, beatings, torture and sexual abuse of detainees by the Black Watch, arguably the most important infantry battalion in the British army.

Despite the production of new evidence, and the ICC’s apparent willingness to admit the evidence as part of an official investigation, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) continues to deny what it calls “allegations”.

If the ICC decides to launch a formal investigation, it will count as the first time the UK has been officially accused of war crimes.

Established in 2002, the ICC is an international tribunal headquartered in the Dutch city of The Hague. The ICC should not be confused with the International Court of Justice, which also sits in The Hague.

In addition to the MoD, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also reacted to the latest findings into possible war crimes committed by British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, told the BBC that the government had looked at all the “allegations” that had “evidence”.

Investigators have consistently accused the British government of covering up war crimes by British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.