British mothers of Iraq victims lose legal fight over inquiry

Other News Materials 9 April 2008 15:39 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - The mothers of two young British soldiers killed in Iraq Wednesday lost their legal bid to force the government of Gordon Brown to hold a public inquiry into the legality of Britain's involvement in the conflict.

The mothers, Rose Gentle and Beverley Clarke, had challenged a Court of Appeal ruling of December 2006 that the British government was not under an implied obligation to order an independent inquiry under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the "right to life."

But a committee of nine Law Lords, Britain's highest court, Wednesday dismissed their appeal in which the women argued that the previous government of Tony Blair had breached its duty to the men and women of the armed forces by failing to ensure in advance that the invasion was lawful and justified.

The government has so far rejected calls for a public inquiry into the background of Britain's involvement in Iraq.

Trooper David Clarke died in a so-called friendly fire incident near Basra, southern Iraq, in March 2003, while fusilier Gordon Gentle was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in June 2004.

The next step is for the families to decide whether to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.