Jackson flies to Iraq to placate troops By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent, Daily Telegraph. (Filed: 12/09/2004) General Sir Mike Jackson, the Army's most senior officer, has flown to Iraq in a bid to quell the rising anger of British troops furious at the revelation that 19 soldiers face allegations of murder and brutality. The Telegraph has learnt that senior officers believe that the unprecedented number of investigations into troops' behaviour is creating a fear of prosecution among soldiers that undermines the Army's operational effectiveness. The visit by Sir Mike, the Chief of the General Staff, begins today and follows the disclosure that a further three soldiers, all from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, are expected to be charged with murder this week. The charges follow the court appearance last Tuesday of Trooper Kevin Williams, 21, a member of the same regiment, who is accused of murdering an Iraqi lawyer in August last year. Although the General's visit was scheduled before details of the charges became public knowledge, it is understood that he intends personally to assure soldiers that they have his full support. It is believed that he will tell troops that the Army's rules of engagement have been created to safeguard their individual security and protect them from prosecution. The three soldiers from the 2RTR facing murder charges have been under investigation for several months. It is alleged that they shot dead an Iraqi civilian after he attacked Sgt Steve Roberts at a checkpoint outside the southern town of Az Zubayr on the fourth day of the war in Iraq. Sgt Roberts died after he was struck by bullets fired from a British tank. He had earlier been ordered to hand his body armour to another soldier who had none. It is understood that the investigation, which was conducted by the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police, was initially undertaken to try to establish how Sgt Roberts had died. The file on his death was passed to the Army Prosecuting Authority and then to the Crown Prosecution Service, whose lawyers are understood to have recommended murder charges against three soldiers. It is alleged that the soldiers killed the Iraqi after he ceased to pose a threat to Sgt Roberts. A senior Army officer said: "We are in grave danger of creating a culture in the Army where soldiers are too scared to open fire because they fear that if they make a mistake they will face prosecution. Soldiers are trained to react instinctively to events and these investigations are undermining that quality. "There is a big difference between a soldier who carries out an illegal execution and one who mistakenly kills a person while they are carrying out what he believes is his duty." The Ministry of Defence refused to comment yesterday.