( Irna ) - No decision has yet been made on whether to prosecute US troops responsible for the killing of an award-winning journalist near Basra at the start of the 2003 Iraq war, the British government has revealed.
The coroner of the delayed inquest into the death of Terry Lloyd wrote to Attorney General Lord Goldsmith last October "to see whether any steps can be taken to bring the perpetrators responsible for this to justice."
The inquest ruled that the 50-year-old ITN correspondent was "unlawfully killed" when a fatal bullet from American troops hit him in the head while being taken to hospital in a civilian vehicle near Basra after being injured in crossfire on 22 March 2003.
In a written parliamentary reply published Thursday, Solicitor General Mike O'Brien said that although Attorney-General has to consent to any prosecution, any decision to prosecute is made by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
"The CPS has the case under active review," O'Brien told MPs, but added after 8 months "they have decided that they need further information before they can make a decision and are taking steps to obtain that information."
MPs pressing the government to prosecute the US troops responsible in a UK court are being led by the National Union of Journalist (NUJ) parliamentary group.
Secretary of the all-party NUJ group, John McDonnell, said last year that MPs were pressing for action against both US soldiers and their commanders.
"There is a moral obligation by the British Government to take this matter further," said McDonnell.
After the inquest verdict, Lloyd's widow Lynn accused US forces of allowing soldiers to "behave like trigger-happy cowboys in an area in which there were civilians travelling on a highway."
Under the first additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 1977, the intentional killing of a civilian or non-combatant by armed forces is unlawful and could be prosecuted as wilful killing.
But the campaign group, Inquest, has pointed out that Britain's record of referring such cases for prosecution is not a good one. In 1992, an inquest ruled that nine UK forces during the earlier were unlawfully killed by US 'friendly fire' but were not charged.
Lloyd is particularly famous in Britain for exposing Saddam Hussein's chemical massacre on the Iraqi border town of Halabja during his war against Iran in 1988.
When he was killed in Iraq, he was working for ITN News as an independent reporter and was not an "embedded" correspondent accompanying US or UK forces.