The Baha Mousa tragedy: British Army detention and interrogation from Iraq to Afghanistan

Huw Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


Baha Mousa died in September 2003 in British Army custody in Basra. A public inquiry reported in September 2011, and allows for the first assessment of British military detention and interrogation policy in the War on Terror. This article explains the Inquiry's remit and findings, showing how the failure to institutionalise a ban on interrogation methods in 1972 led to them re-appearing in 2003. Poor policy, doctrine and training meant soldiers were ill prepared for dealing with detainees when Iraq was invaded in 2003. The article assesses the army's efforts to learn from the mistakes of Iraq, including reforms to policy, doctrine and training on interrogation and detention. The article's final part assesses the limitations to these reforms in practice in Afghanistan, arguing that there are still important areas demanding improvement to prevent future abuses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-229
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number2
Early online date13 Sept 2012
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2012


  • Baha Mousa
  • Iraq War
  • detention
  • torture
  • Afghanistan
  • British Army


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