A BBC/Sunday Times investigation said it had obtained evidence from inside the Iraq historic allegations team (IHAT), which investigated alleged war crimes committed by British soldiers in Iraq, and Operation Northmoor, which investigated alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, implicating troops in killing children and the torture of civilians.
No case investigated by IHAT or Operation Northmoor has led to a prosecution.
An IHAT detective told Panorama: “The Ministry of Defence had no intention of prosecuting any soldier of whatever rank he was unless it was absolutely necessary, and they couldn’t wriggle their way out of it.”
The year-long investigation claims to have found evidence of murders by an SAS soldier, as well as deaths in custody, beatings, torture and sexual abuse of detainees by members of the Black Watch.
A senior SAS commander was referred to prosecutors for attempting to pervert the course of justice, the investigation claims.Rachel Logan, of Amnesty International UK, described the reports as “deeply troubling”, adding: “If true, those responsible for sanctioning and carrying out torture and other war crimes, at all levels, must be held accountable and, where appropriate, prosecuted.”