Terms of Reference and Protocol published

The Government and the Detainee Inquiry have today published the agreed the Terms of Reference and Protocol which outline how the Inquiry will go about its work once it is launched.

The Inquiry will look into whether, and if so to what extent, the UK Government and its security and intelligence agencies were involved in, or aware of, the improper treatment of detainees, including rendition. It will consider the UK’s policy in response to developing awareness of the changing practices of other countries towards detainees held in counter-terrorism operations. The Inquiry is committed to carrying out a thorough and effective investigation and it will identify lessons to be learnt and make recommendations for the future.

The Terms of Reference and the Protocol for the conduct of the Inquiry’s work can be found on the Inquiry’s website (Protocol/ Terms of Reference). The website also includes answers to frequently asked questions about the Inquiry.

The Terms of Reference and Protocol, agreed by Government and the Inquiry, provide a robust and fair process, and closely follow the outline set by the Prime Minister, in his letter of 6 July 2010, to the Chair of the Inquiry, Sir Peter Gibson.

At present the Metropolitan Police continue their investigations into related matters and, as reflected in the Prime Minister’s letter, the Inquiry cannot formally start whilst the criminal process is ongoing. Once launched, the Inquiry aims to complete its work within one year.

Since the Prime Minister’s letter, the Inquiry team have been engaged in a preparatory phase where they have been reading and analysing existing relevant material. The Inquiry will formally call all relevant evidence at the point when it launches, but welcomes information from those who have an interest in the Inquiry’s work before then. (Contact us)

The Inquiry has also been conducting other important preparatory work. For example, last month it held a legal seminar which provided an opportunity for the Inquiry to inform itself about the law in this area,  some aspects of which are not settled. The Panel heard a range of legal views from a number of eminent academics and other professionals with experience in both domestic criminal and public international law. This seminar was timed to precede the Inquiry hearing any evidence so that, when it is formally launched, it can move on to that stage of its work with fuller understanding of the legal framework in which these relevant events are alleged to have occurred. Further information about the legal seminar can be found here.