These pages contain questions frequently asked of the Inquiry, and the answers to those questions.
Click on a question below to see the answer, or search under the themed sections on the left.
If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please contact us.
Scope and Purpose
- Why did the Prime Minister set up this Inquiry?
- Why hasn’t the formal launch of the Inquiry yet taken place?
- When will you be in a position to launch?
- What has the Inquiry team been doing in the meantime, before the formal launch?
- How long will the Inquiry take?
- Is this an Inquiry established to fulfil any perceived obligation under article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights?
- Will the Inquiry look into issues that are being considered by other proceedings?
- What powers does the Inquiry have?
- How is the Government cooperating with the Inquiry?
- Is the Detainee Inquiry different from the “Gibson Inquiry” or UK “Torture Inquiry”?
Terms of Reference and Protocol
- What is the Inquiry’s remit/what are its terms of reference?
- Why have you released a protocol for the Inquiry when you haven’t yet launched formally?
- Who wrote and agreed the Terms of Reference and Protocol?
- Who else was consulted about the Terms of Reference and Protocol before they were agreed?
- Your Protocol looks very similar to the Iraq Inquiry – how is the Detainee Inquiry going to be different?
- What time frame will the Inquiry consider?
- Will the Inquiry investigate allegations of UK involvement in torture of detainees in locations outside of Guantanamo Bay?
- Will you be looking at the case of Shaker Aamer, the British resident who continues to be held at Guantanamo Bay? Will you be lobbying to secure his release?
- Will the Inquiry be looking into the specific cases of other detainees?
- How are you involving current and/or former detainees in the Inquiry?
- Will the Inquiry look at the rendition of detainees, and the use of UK and UK territorial airspace for this purpose?
- Will the Inquiry be looking at military detention operations, including the handover of detainees by the British military to other countries?
- Will the Inquiry be looking into the actions of corporate bodies?
- What about the decisions of Ministers and Senior Officials in Government and the agencies – will the Inquiry consider those?
- Will the Inquiry Panel be travelling abroad, to Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere, to take evidence from potential witnesses?
- The Protocol says that certain information will be withheld where it may cause harm to National Security. Who will decide what constitutes damage to National Security?
- Who will have the final say on what should be made public and what should be kept private? What happens if the Inquiry thinks something should be made public but Government objects?
- Will the Inquiry make recommendations about the regulation of aviation industries?
- Will the Inquiry look at the oversight arrangements for the Security and Intelligence Agencies, for example the role of the Intelligence and Security Committee?
Membership and expertise
- Who are the members of the Inquiry Panel?
- Who picked the Panel members?
- Why were they chosen?
- Who is the Detainee Inquiry Secretary?
- Who is Counsel to the Inquiry?
- Who staffs the Detainee Inquiry Secretariat?
- Have any members of the Secretariat previously worked in the Security and Intelligence Agencies?
- How can the Inquiry claim to be independent when the Prime Minister has chosen the Panel and it is supported by civil servants?
- Are the staff of the Inquiry suitably representative?
- What experts does the Inquiry have to assist it?
- Who is paying for the Inquiry and how much will the Inquiry cost
- Are the Inquiry Panel paid, and if so, how much?
- Where will the Inquiry be based?
- Does the Inquiry have a Freedom of Information policy?
Hearings, witnesses and evidence
- When will the Inquiry start taking evidence?
- How can I submit information to the Inquiry?
- Can members of the public and media attend hearings?
- Who will be giving evidence?
- Will names of witnesses be provided in advance?
- Will the Inquiry be publishing witness statements, and if so, when?
- Will the Inquiry ask for evidence from current and former detainees?
- Will the Inquiry seek evidence from witnesses who are neither British nor resident in the UK?
- Will you tell witnesses the line of questioning they will face?
- What legal protection do witnesses have to speak freely?
- Can a witness be accompanied during hearings?
- What adaptations will the Inquiry make for witnesses with special needs or requirements?
- Will any financial support be provided for witnesses for their attendance at hearings and any legal assistance they may wish to call on?
- If witnesses are not able to consult a lawyer whilst giving evidence, is there a danger that they might incriminate themselves or libel someone when giving evidence?
- What will the Inquiry do if it receives evidence or information about criminal offences?
- Does the Inquiry have the power to force people to give evidence?
- If I attend hearings, will I be able to ask questions of witnesses?
- When will evidence be given in public and when will it be kept private?
- Why would someone need to give evidence in private?
- Will evidence given in private be explained in public, and, if so, when and how?
- Will all documentary evidence be published on the website, and if so, when?
- Can the Inquiry force the Security and Intelligence Agencies to submit written evidence even if that evidence is secret?
- How will the Inquiry know that it has all relevant material from the agencies or if anything is being held back or destroyed?
- Will the Inquiry proceedings be televised?
- Are records of proceedings going to be available on the Inquiry website?
- When and how will the report be published?
- Will there be an interim report?
- What will happen once the report is made public? Will anyone be disciplined if wrongdoing or involvement in wrongdoing is determined? Will criminal charges be brought?
- If the Inquiry establishes that the UK Government was complicit in the torture of individuals, will it award compensation to those individuals?
- The Inquiry is looking in particular at events post 11 September 2001 – what difference will this Inquiry make almost 10 years on?
- Some detainees have announced that they are boycotting the Inquiry - will it still go ahead?
- How can this be a robust inquiry and get to the truth if detainees refuse to give evidence?
- Will you be looking into the allegations, which received significant press coverage on 4/5 September 2011, that MI6 was involved in the alleged rendition/mistreatment of Libyans Abdul Hakim Belhadj (also known as Abu Abdallah Sadiq) and Abu Munthir?
- Have the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference been extended specially so that it can consider the Libyan allegations?
- Will considering these allegations mean that the Inquiry will take longer than the one year timescale initally expected?