Scope and Purpose

Why did the Prime Minister set up this Inquiry?

The Prime Minister made clear in his statement to Parliament on 6 July 2010, that the Inquiry was to be the first proper attempt to look systematically at the allegations about whether British personnel were in any way involved in the alleged mistreatment of detainees held by other countries.

Why didn’t the Inquiry launch formally?

As the Prime Minister stated in July 2010, the Inquiry could not launch formally until related criminal processes were concluded. The Justice Secretary then made clear in his statement to the House on 18 January 2012, that the CPS’ announcement of new criminal investigations to be carried out by the Metropolitan Police meant that the Inquiry could not carry out its mandate as previously envisaged.

What has the Inquiry team been doing?

In addition to negotiating with Government on the Terms of Reference and Protocol, running a legal seminar and meeting other persons interested in it, the Inquiry received and analysed some 20,000 documents from Government Departments and Agencies. Between January 2012, when the Justice Secretary announced the Government was bringing the Inquiry to a close, and 27 June, when the Inquiry submitted its report to the Prime Minister, the team continued to analyse the vast number of documents and drafted the report.

Was this an Inquiry established to fulfil any perceived obligation under article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights?

No. The remit of the Inquiry is set out in the Prime Minister’s letter to Sir Peter Gibson of 6 July 2010.

It was not an Inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 or any other statutory scheme. The Government stated that the Inquiry was not set up to comply with, or respond to, any perceived international legal obligations.

What powers does the Inquiry have?

The Prime Minister stated that the Inquiry would have access to all the Government papers it required and that the Cabinet Secretary and the heads of the Security and Intelligence Agencies would require staff in their departments and Agencies to cooperate fully with the Inquiry. The Inquiry was a non-statutory Inquiry and as such it had no power to compel the attendance of witnesses or production of documents.

How did the Government cooperate with the Inquiry?

Since the announcement of the Inquiry, Government provided the Inquiry with access to relevant papers.

Is the Detainee Inquiry different from the “Gibson Inquiry” or UK “Torture Inquiry”?

No, it is the same Inquiry. The Detainee Inquiry has been referred to by a number of different names, including the “Gibson Inquiry”, but the official title of the Inquiry chaired by Sir Peter Gibson is The Detainee Inquiry.