The Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday that British Gulf War veterans who are suing the government over alleged side effects of the anti-chemical weapons vaccine have found a letter that may give them the legal right to launch a major lawsuit against the UK Ministry of Defense.
Veteran members of the group report ongoing difficulties with Gulf War Syndrome symptoms like fatigue, joint pain, headaches, and memory loss.
Veterans say they began experiencing symptoms of the syndrome after receiving vaccines intended to lessen the effects of chemical and biological weapons; this number represents about 17,000 of the 51,000 British personnel who served in the conflict.
Since the end of the war in 1991, the veterans have attempted to file suit against the government.
More than 2,000 veterans attempted to sue for millions of pounds in compensation for Gulf War Syndrome in 2004, but the case was thrown out due to a lack of scientific evidence for the condition.
The newly discovered letter, however, was written by advisors to the government of then-Prime Minister John Major and may authorize fresh legal action.
The letter specifies that any legal action taken in response to the conflict is not subject to any kind of statute of limitations.
The legal action is being assisted by a group of retired civil servants who worked in Whitehall during the war and have come forward to support the veterans’ group.
More than two hundred claims for compensation are being prepared by the veterans’ legal team, led by Hilary Meredith-Beckham, founder of Hilary Meredith Solicitors.
Since the end of the Gulf War, Meredith-Beckham has represented veterans. She found the letter while going through her own records.
‘We have a letter from the treasury solicitor dating back to 1997 confirming that limitation — a legally specified period beyond which an action may be defeated — will not be raised as a defense,’ she told the Telegraph.
It’s long past due that those who were affected so long ago and are still suffering have access to legal recourse. The Defense Ministry must fulfill its obligations to the veterans who have served our country so valiantly.
She went on to say that former government employees were needed to help with compensation claims.
Those who were involved in making decisions have “retired from post and perhaps reflected on their role in the Gulf War and the legacy issues caused by it,” she said.
We deployed people into a dangerous situation without knowing how to keep them safe.
“We cannot comment on ongoing litigation,” a Ministry of Defense spokesman said. Our nation owes a great debt to the men and women who served in the Gulf wars, and we have funded extensive studies on the after-effects of the conflict for veterans.