An Afghan man who lost five relatives in a missile strike has started proceedings against the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Ministry of Defence demanding to know the UK's involvement in the joint integrated prioritised target list (JIPTL). Solicitors Leigh Day & Co have asked Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and Soca to provide a series of assurances about Britain's participation, including guidance on whether it complies with UK and international law. The list includes names of people that military forces in Afghanistan have designated as targets.
A report to the US Senate's committee on
foreign relations described the JIPTL as a "kill list" and stated: "The
military places no restrictions on the use of force with these selected
targets, which means they can be killed or captured on the battlefield".
Rahman, who has brought the legal challenge, lost two brothers, two
uncles and his father-in-law in a missile attack on September 2 2010.
The attack happened while they were helping Mr Rahman's cousin Abdul
Wahab Khorasani, a former parliamentary candidate, as he campaigned in
the Rustaq district of Takhar province, Afghanistan.
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said at the time the
attack was "a precision air strike" which killed or injured "eight to 12
insurgents", including a Taliban commander. However lawyers say a
detailed investigation carried out by Kate Clark of the Afghanistan
Analysts Network provides "powerful evidence" that the attack was an
instance of mistaken targeting.
Rosa Curling, from Leigh Day &
Co, said: "At a time when the UK government is arguing that our
presence in Afghanistan is needed to bring stability to the country and
to establish and maintain the rule of law, ensuring that the UK
government and its agencies themselves are operating within their legal
obligations could not be more important.
"Our client's case
suggests that the establishment and maintenance of the 'killing list' is
not in line with the UK's duties under international humanitarian law.
Our client lost five of his relatives in an attack by the international
military forces as a result of this list. It is important that the MoD
and Soca provide us with the reassurances sought, to make sure that
others do not suffer the tragic loss of life as experienced by Mr
The MoD said it could not discuss the case in detail but
stressed it worked "strictly within the bounds of international law". An
MoD spokesman said: "We continue to work towards a stable Afghanistan
that can look after its own security by the time our combat operations
cease at the end of 2014. In doing so, UK Forces operate strictly within
the bounds of international law under rules of engagement which, for
reasons of operational security, we do not discuss in detail."
Soca spokesman said: "Soca does not discuss intelligence. Soca works
strictly within the bounds of international law. Our activity overseas
is conducted in line with other UK Government departments, which comply
with the principles of international humanitarian law and human rights."
Source: Press Association