Terms of Reference and Protocol

What was the Inquiry’s remit/what were its terms of reference?

The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference can be found here, alongside a Protocol which sets out how the Inquiry would work and the processes it would follow. Although this was an independent Inquiry, these documents had to be agreed with Government, as requested by the Prime Minister in his letter to Sir Peter Gibson of 6 July 2010.

Who wrote and agreed the Terms of Reference and Protocol?

The Secretariat and Counsel to the Inquiry provided support to the Panel in drafting the Terms of Reference and Protocol, which were, after negotiations, then agreed with Government as requested by the Prime Minister.

Who else was consulted about the Terms of Reference and Protocol before they were agreed?

As part of informing their thinking on the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference and Protocol, the Inquiry Panel met a number of persons and groups interested in the Inquiry and sought and received their views on what those documents should include. Those persons and groups included detainees and their representatives, non-governmental organisations and Parliamentarians.

What time frame did the Inquiry consider?

The particular focus of the Inquiry was the immediate aftermath of 9/11. However, they also looked at cases from a wider time period where they are illustrative of the broader themes of the Inquiry.

Did the Inquiry investigate allegations of UK involvement in torture of detainees in locations outside of Guantanamo Bay?

Yes. Although the primary focus of the Inquiry was on UK involvement in mistreatment of those detained at Guantanamo, where documents suggested such involvement or mistreatment of detainees outside Guantanamo, the Inquiry considered those documents.

Did you look at the case of Shaker Aamer, the British resident who continues to be held at Guantanamo Bay?

We will not debate the specifics of individual cases. From the 200 or so reported instances identified in the documents, we looked at 40 separate cases that best illustrate the themes we were asked to investigate.

How did you involve current and/or former detainees in the Inquiry?

The Panel met with detainees and their representatives as part of the Inquiry’s preparation and had hoped to receive evidence from those who have relevant evidence when the Inquiry launched formally. In the end this was not possible.

Did the Inquiry look at the rendition of detainees, and the use of UK and UK territorial
airspace for this purpose?

Yes. The Inquiry looked at whether UK government personnel were aware of, or involved in, the rendition of detainees from one country to another, and whether UK airports and UK airspace were used for this purpose.

Did the Inquiry look at military detention operations, including the handover of detainees by the British military to other countries?

Any allegations of mistreatment or abuse involving UK military forces are important and deserve to be examined. As the Prime Minister’s letter of July 6, 2010, made clear, allegations of mistreatment relating to military detention operations are being covered under separate arrangements by the Ministry of Defence. However, the MoD was not exempt from the Inquiry. We looked into rendition, including UK forces’ awareness of, or involvement in, any renditions from one country to another. We did not exclude any rendition case because it started with the military, as opposed to the intelligence agencies. This included the cases of two detainees captured by UK forces in Iraq, handed over to the Americans, and then subsequently subjected to rendition to Afghanistan in 2004, as well as other allegations of the awareness of or involvement in mistreatment or rendition by UK personnel whether they are military or civilian. But wider UK military detention operations, including handovers by UK forces which did not then result in rendition to another state, are outside our terms of reference and are matters to be considered separately.

What about the decisions of Ministers and Senior Officials in Government and the Agencies – did the Inquiry consider those?

Yes.

Did the Inquiry Panel travel abroad, to Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere, to take evidence from potential witnesses?

The Inquiry Panel had no plans to travel abroad to take evidence, given that the Inquiry is looking into the actions and knowledge of the UK Government and its Security and Intelligence Agencies. However, the Panel did wish to visit Guantanamo Bay as part of key fact-finding to inform the Inquiry’s evidence and were prepared to travel to other locations abroad if they considered it necessary for the purposes of the Inquiry. But in the end this was not necessary.

The Protocol says that certain information will be withheld where it may cause harm to National Security.

Who decided what constitutes damage to National Security and what could appear in the report?

We have always been clear that we wanted as much of the Report as possible to be published without damage to national security. We challenged Government throughout this process to ensure as much of the report as possible is released into the public domain. There are three paragraphs with redactions. The Government made the redactions.

Who had the final say on what should be made public and what should be kept private? What happened when the Inquiry thought something should be made public but Government objected?

We have always been clear that we wanted as much of the Report as possible to be published without damage to national security. We challenged Government throughout this process to ensure as much of the report as possible is released into the public domain. There are three paragraphs with redactions. The Government made the redactions.