Middle East

UN urges US and Iraq to probe Wikileaks torture claims

US soldier in Iraq in 2004, file image
Image caption The Wikileaks files are mainly accounts from the ground written by soldiers

The US and Iraq should investigate claims of abuse contained in files published on the Wikileaks website, the UN's rights chief says.

Navi Pillay said the files suggested US forces had continued to hand detainees to Iraqi authorities despite evidence that they had been tortured.

Meanwhile, the UN's adviser on torture, Manfred Novak, called for a wider inquiry to include alleged US abuses.

The US military has denied turning a blind eye to torture in Iraq.

On Monday, Gen George Casey, who was in charge of US forces in Iraq from 2004 to 2007, said all soldiers were instructed to report any allegations of abuse.

But Ms Pillay said the Wikileaks disclosure of almost 400,000 secret war logs added to her concerns that serious breaches of international human rights law had occurred in Iraq.

"The US and Iraqi authorities should take necessary measures to investigate all allegations made in these reports and to bring to justice those responsible for unlawful killings, summary executions, torture and other serious human rights abuses," she said in a statement.

Fewer allegations

Mr Novak said it was not enough to investigate only what happened in Iraq.

He urged US President Barack Obama to launch a full investigation into all allegations of torture against US military and intelligence officials.

He said the inquiry should include accounts of US agents handing detainees to states such as Egypt, Morocco and Syria, knowing they would be ill treated.

Mr Novak told journalists he now received far fewer allegations of torture than he had done during the so-called war on terror launched by former US President George W Bush.

But he pointed out that Mr Obama, like his predecessor, had refused to grant private interviews with detainees, and had invoked state secrecy privileges to prevent civil lawsuits by alleged victims of US torture.

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