Action on Armed Violence has written to Colonel Mark John, the Commanding Officer of the Defence Serious Crime Command (DSCC), concerning serious allegations against General Gwyn Jenkins, in regard to potential misconduct during his tenure in the UK Special Forces.
AOAV’s request for an investigation into General Jenkins follows a BBC Panorama report alleging extrajudicial killings by the Special Air Service (SAS) in Afghanistan, purportedly concealed by the General at the time.
Background of the Allegations
The BBC report, published earlier this month was titled “Top general locked away evidence of SAS executions“. It chronicled events dating back to 2011. At that time, General Jenkins, then a colonel, was allegedly made aware of grave accusations involving SAS soldiers. These accusations detailed the execution of handcuffed detainees in Afghanistan.
Contrary to the expectations of his position, it is claimed that General Jenkins did not report these allegations to the military police. Instead, they were filed in a classified dossier, effectively kept out of reach and scrutiny for an extended period.
The implications of these allegations are severe.
The Armed Forces Act 2006 explicitly mandates commanding officers to report any evidence suggesting war crimes to the military police. By failing to do so, General Jenkins may have violated this legal duty, raising significant concerns about adherence to military law and ethical conduct within the ranks of the British Armed Forces.
The allegations, if proven true, could severely impact the integrity of the British Armed Forces and the public trust vested in them. Such incidents of extrajudicial killings, and the potential cover-up, pose a direct challenge to the principles of justice and accountability that the military is expected to uphold.
In his communication, AOAV’s Executive Director Dr. Overton has expressed deep concern regarding these reports. He underscored the necessity of a thorough and impartial investigation to ascertain the truth behind these serious allegations. Emphasising the significance and potential implications of these claims, Dr. Overton urged either the Royal Military Police or the DSCC to initiate a comprehensive investigation into the actions of General Jenkins during his tenure with the Special Forces.
The objective is to determine any breach of legal and ethical standards and to take appropriate actions based on the investigation’s findings.
As Dr. Iain Overton said, “The failure to address such critical information, particularly concerning the unlawful killing of detainees, not only raises questions about any possible failure in regard to adherence to military law and ethics but also about the integrity of our armed forces. A comprehensive and impartial investigation is imperative to ensure justice and uphold public trust.”
AOAV’s request to the DSCC is a call for transparency and accountability within the military establishment. It highlights the need for stringent adherence to legal and ethical norms, especially in conflict zones. The outcome of this investigation, should it proceed, could have far-reaching implications for the conduct of military operations and the maintenance of high ethical standards in the British Armed Forces.
Neither the DSCC or the Royal Military Police has, at the time of writing, acknowledged receipt of AOAV’s call for action.
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