Statement by the Detainee Inquiry on publication of its report on 19 December 2013

Today the Government has published a report submitted to the Prime Minister by Sir Peter Gibson and Dame Janet Paraskeva, the Panel of the Detainee Inquiry, on the Inquiry’s work.

The Inquiry’s Report speaks for itself. It is a rigorous, thorough and independent piece of work. It reveals more information than ever before about the workings of Government and the Agencies, on the issues highlighted in the report.

Sir Peter said:

“There are matters which deserve further investigation. That is what the documents have disclosed and we explain why in our report.”

Dame Janet said:

“We have worked hard to put as much as possible into the public domain. I do hope the Government will decide to build on our work in a future Inquiry and give the detainees a chance to have their say.”

The library of documents, the analysis of information and preliminary identification of potential witnesses the Inquiry carried out, will save any subsequent Inquiry a huge amount of time and resource.

The report does not find facts or reach conclusions. It is based on the scrutiny of documents, no witness has yet had the opportunity to explain or add to this information. But the Inquiry has shone a bright light onto issues which might be investigated further by a future Inquiry or on which the Government can take action now.

The Inquiry covered four separate themes: interrogation and treatment issues, rendition, training and guidance as well as policy and communications. Its work revealed 27 separate issues the Inquiry would like to have investigated further and which might be followed up by a future Inquiry.

In summary the report says:

Interrogation and Treatment issues:

  • Documents indicate that in some instances UK intelligence officers were aware of inappropriate interrogation techniques and mistreatment or allegations of mistreatment of some detainees by liaison partners from other countries.


  • Documents indicate that Government or its Agencies may have become inappropriately involved in some cases of rendition.

Training and Guidance

  • No reason to doubt that instruction to personnel was that detainees must be treated humanely and consistently with UK’s international legal obligations. But officers on the ground needed clear guidance on when and with whom to raise concerns.

Policy and Communications

  • Documents raise the question whether the Agencies could have identified possible patterns of detainee mistreatment more quickly and whether or not sufficient information was given to the ISC to enable it to perform its duties.

Notes for editors:

The Inquiry’s original task was set out by the Prime Minister when he announced its establishment on 6 July 2010, to: “….look at whether Britain was implicated in the improper treatment of detainees, held by other countries, that may have occurred in the aftermath of 9/11”

On 18 January 2012, the then Justice Secretary, told the House: “….. following consultations with Sir Peter Gibson, the chair of the Inquiry we have decided to bring the work of his Inquiry to a conclusion. We have agreed with Sir Peter that the Inquiry should provide Government with a report on its preparatory work to date, highlighting particular themes or issues which might be the subject of further examination. The Government are clear that as much of this report as possible will be made public.”

As the Justice Secretary made clear in his statement to the House, the CPS’ announcement of new criminal investigations to be carried out by the Metropolitan Police meant that the Inquiry start its mandate as originally envisaged.

The Inquiry examined some 20,000 documents and as a result has raised a number of robust questions for a future Inquiry to investigate further and a number of areas where the Government can act now. The vast majority of the documents the Inquiry examined were highly classified.

For more information including the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference, Protocol, biographies of Sir Peter Gibson and Dame Janet Paraskeva, and a link to the report please visit: