British army Col. Adam Griffiths on Monday said claims that British troops abused the bodies of dead Iraqis are "baseless."
Griffiths' comments came during the al-Sweady Inquiry in London, The Telegraph reported. The inquiry was ordered in 2009 to look into claims that 20 or more Iraqis were unlawfully killed and then mutilated at Camp Abu Naji in Iraq on May 14 and 15, 2004, and that inmates at the camp were mistreated.
Griffiths was the commanding officer of a company that was ambushed by Iraqi insurgents in May 2004. The ambush then sparked a three-hour battle known as the Battle of Danny Boy.
The colonel testified that after the battle, bodies were cleared from the field and taken back to CAN, adding that although it was "highly unusual" to bring bodies to the camp, the order to do so was most likely given for good reason.
"I did not believe any of our soldiers had mutilated a body and I did not see at the time, and have not seen since, any evidence to support this proposition," Griffiths said. "I thought then, and I still think now, that the rumors were baseless and caused by a combination of ignorance amongst the local population as to the traumatic injuries that can be suffered in combat and the misinformation spread by insurgents who wished to discredit the coalition forces."
Griffiths said he viewed the bodies up-close at the camp and did not notice anything unusual.
"I did not observe anything that appeared to be inconsistent with battlefield injuries. I can recall that some of the limbs must have been broken as they were sticking out at unnatural angles. Injuries of this type can be caused by 5.56 and 7.62mm ammunition," he said.