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http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=Q5N540UGARX32CRBAELCFFA?type=topNews&storyID=297556 21 May 2003 Senior army offices faces war crime inquiry By Sinead O'Hanlon LONDON (Reuters) - A senior British Army officer hailed for his inspirational leadership during the Iraq war is being formally investigated over alleged war crimes, the Ministry of Defence says. Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins, who headed the 600-strong 1 Royal Irish Regiment in southern Iraq, has been accused of breaching the Geneva Conventions through ill-treatment of prisoners of war. "We can confirm that an investigation is being conducted into allegations that have been made against an officer who served in Iraq," a ministry spokesman said on Wednesday. "We cannot comment further because of the risk of compromising the allegations." The ministry would not name the officer but a defence source confirmed to Reuters that it was Collins, who has returned from Iraq to Britain. The origin of the complaints is not known and the ministry spokesman refused to say what they entailed. But newspapers reported he was being accused of punching, kicking and threatening Iraqi prisoners of war and pistol-whipping one Iraqi civic leader. Collins could not immediately be reached for comment but the Sun said he denied the allegations. The cigar-chomping, sunglass wearing soldier was widely praised for an inspirational speech made on the eve of battle in which he exhorted his troops to be ferocious in battle but magnanimous in victory. A copy of his speech was reportedly tacked to the wall of President George W. Bush's office while Prince Charles wrote to him to praise his "stirring, civilised and humane" words. The Ministry of Defence said it would not release any details of the investigation, which was expected to include the questioning of witnesses in Britain and Iraq, until it was completed. Last week, human rights group Amnesty International said it had received about 20 complaints from Iraqi civilians and soldiers accusing British and American troops of torture. The group said it was still collecting witness statements and had not corroborated reports of beatings and electric shock treatment or raised the matter with the authorities. __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo. http://search.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk