A Danish court has ordered the government to compensate the civilians tortured in an operation during the U.S.-led war on Iraq.
The court in the Danish capital Copenhagen issued the ruling for 18 Iraqi civilians on Friday. In total, 23 Iraqis had sued the Danish government.
They had suffered the "torture and inhumane treatment" in operation "Green Desert" carried out by Iraqi security forces along with a Danish battalion near Iraq's main port city of Basra in 2004.
The verdict, however, cleared the Danish troops of conducting the torture, and only found them culpable of knowing about a "real risk" of abuse and failing to stop it.
"The soldiers of the Danish battalion who were sent to Iraq in 2004 and partook in the operation were not found guilty of violence against the Iraqis," the court said.
The plaintiffs were awarded 30,000 Danish kroner ($4,600).
‘Denmark can’t help security abroad’
"This means that we can no longer contribute to improving security - and therefore guaranteeing human rights - in countries engaged in armed conflict," Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said in a statement.
The minister said he was satisfied by the ruling exonerating Danish soldiers, but he would appeal the verdict because it placed Denmark "in a difficult situation".
The U.S., backed by the UK, invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext that former dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). No such weapons, however, were ever found in Iraq.
The invasion led to the rise of terrorism in Iraq and wider region.
More than one million Iraqis were killed as a result of the war, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored.
The UK's Iraq War inquiry, known as the Chilcot Inquiry, also concluded that the policy on the Iraq invasion was based on "flawed" intelligence about the country's supposed WMD.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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