IFJ on Lloyd: 'If this was murder as the court suggests, it is certainly a war crime'

Tony Blair is facing MPs' demands to ensure that US Marines are tried in a British court for the murder of ITN journalist Terry Lloyd.

The cross-party NUJ parliamentary group is pressing the Government to respond to the ruling by the Oxfordshire coroner that the 50-year old reporter was unlawfully killed while reporting the Iraq war.

Meetings are being sought with Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and Defence Secretary Des Browne, ministers are to be questioned in Parliament, and, unless it is ruled sub judice, other MPs will be invited to sign a Commons motion urging Government action.

John McDonnell, secretary of the NUJ parliamentary group, said: "We are going to the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office to say as strongly as we possibly can that this Government needs to act to secure justice."

The International Federation of Journalists has called on the US to "tell the whole truth" about the deaths of 19 media staff in Iraq, including Lloyd.

IFJ general secretary Aidan White said: "If this was murder as the court suggests and the US is responsible, it is certainly a war crime."

Lloyd was killed, together with Lebanese interpreter Hussein Osman and French cameraman Fred Nerac, near the Shatt al Basra Bridge outside Iraq's second city of Basra in March 2003.

The inquest heard that he was shot in the back after getting caught up in US and Iraqi crossfire, then shot in the head by US forces as he was taken away in a minibus for medical treatment.

White said of the coroner's verdict: "This decision gets us one step closer to bringing Terry Lloyd's killers to justice.

"It also signals that it is now time for the US to abandon its policy of cover-up and tell the whole truth about other cases where media staff died in unexplained circumstances at the hands of its soldiers.

"So long as the US remains indifferent and refuses to explain the actions of its soldiers in these killings, there will be speculation about deliberate targeting of media staff."

Oxfordshire assistant deputy coroner Andrew Walker said he would write to the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions "to see whether any steps can be taken to bring the perpetrators responsible for this to justice".

Walker said: "I have no doubt that it was an unlawful act to fire on this minibus."

The minibus had stopped and turned around to pick up survivors, and was facing away from the US tanks.

Walker said: "If the vehicle was perceived as a threat, it would have been fired on before it did a U-turn. This would have resulted in damage to the front of the vehicle."

Following the verdict, Lloyd's daughter, Chelsey, said: "We call on the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions to commence proceedings to bring the soldiers, including their commanding officers, to justice."

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