The Iraq Inquiry has published further witness statements, declassified transcripts and documents. Sir John Chilcot has also provided an update on the Inquiry’s work including a deadline for public submissions to the Inquiry and a likely timeframe for delivering the report.
To gather the full range of evidence it needs to write its report, the Iraq Inquiry continues to request statements from witnesses who, the Inquiry judges, have a unique perspective on the events it is studying. In some cases, witnesses have volunteered witness statements that they believe will assist the Inquiry in its work.
Today the Inquiry publishes five witness statements from: Rt Hon Jack Straw MP (Foreign Secretary 2001-2006); Rt Hon Denis MacShane MP (Minister for Europe 2002-2005), Sir Hilary Synnott KCMG (Head of Coalition Provisional Authority South 2003-2004), Major General Michael Laurie CBE (Director General Intelligence Collection 2002-2003) and Major General Tim Tyler CB (Deputy Commander Iraq Survey Group 2004).
The Iraq Inquiry remains committed to explaining its work publicly. Even where the Inquiry has had to hold evidence sessions in private it has sought to publish as full a declassified record of these proceedings as possible. To date the Inquiry has published 15 such transcripts. Today it publishes the transcripts of a further four private hearings as well as a number of previously classified documents associated with these and other hearings. These declassified documents are published today to assist public understanding.
Sir John Chilcot said:
“Whilst much of the Inquiry’s work goes on out of the public gaze, we remain committed to openness and transparency. We have already published a great deal of material and held the majority of our hearings in public. We have published more material today and I am pleased to confirm that over the coming months we will publish further declassified transcripts and associated documents as soon as it is possible to do so. This will include the declassified transcripts of private evidence we have taken from three Directors of the Special Forces.”
The Iraq Inquiry continues to draw together and analyse the evidence presented in tens of thousands of documents and many hundred of hours of witness testimony. The Inquiry has also been reflecting on the many submissions it has received.
Sir John Chilcot said:
“The Inquiry has received a broad range of interesting submissions touching on many aspects of the Inquiry’s work. I should be grateful if anyone with any further insights could ensure that they are submitted to the Inquiry by the end of June.
“Writing a report covering so wide and complex a time period necessarily takes time. Whilst writing the report, we are also simultaneously seeking the declassification of much relevant material so the public will understand why and how the Inquiry has reached its conclusions.
“If the Iraq Inquiry chooses to make criticisms, as is the case with all public inquiries, this would necessarily involve further processes to give those criticised the opportunity to respond. We cannot predict now how long that would take.
“Given this, my colleagues and I hope to present our report to the Prime Minister later this year but not before Parliament’s summer recess.”