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'Massacre' campaigners lose battle
Campaigners calling for an official investigation into the "massacre" of 24 Malaysian rubber plantation workers by British troops more than 60 years ago have lost a High Court fight.
Relatives of victims challenged a Government decision not to hold an inquiry into the shootings at Batang Kali, Malaya, in December 1948.
Judges ruled against them following a hearing in London in May.
British troops were conducting operations against communist insurgents during the "Malayan Emergency" when the plantation workers were killed, judges heard.
Relatives described the killings as "a blot on British colonisation and decolonisation" and said there was enough evidence to justify an independent inquiry. They asked judges to overturn the Government's refusal to hold a formal investigation.
Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond opposed the relatives' application, arguing that the decision not to hold any form of inquiry was reached lawfully.
Solicitor John Halford, who represents relatives, said after the hearing: "We are appealing. As long as the injustice remains, the families will be pursuing legal action." He called on ministers to "do the right thing" and "end the ongoing injustices at the heart of this case".
Judges concluded that decisions - taken by Mr Hague and Mr Hammond - not to set up an inquiry were "not unreasonable".
"In our judgment, the decisions of the secretaries of state were ones that took into account the relevant considerations and were not unreasonable," said Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court, who sat with Mr Justice Treacy. "There are no grounds for disturbing their conclusion. In our judgment, they had regard to the relevant factors and weighed them carefully and reached a conclusion which it was plainly open to them to reach."
A relative of one victim said he was disappointed. "I am disappointed with the finding that no inquiry is required," said Chong Koon Yin - whose father Chong Voon died - in a statement released by lawyers. "The truth has not been fully revealed."