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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 November 2005, 13:57 GMT
Analysis: Gulf War ruling
Soldiers
Over 1,500 soldiers are claiming war pensions due to Gulf War syndrome

A former soldier has been awarded a pension after a tribunal accepted he had Gulf War Syndrome.

The ruling in the case of Daniel Martin accepted GWS as an "umbrella term" to cover his ailments, which are attributable to his service in the 1991 conflict.

The former Life Guardsman, who made his first application for a disability pension based on symptoms he suffered after the conflict, said he was "relieved" at the ruling.

"I am quite pleased, and I feel vindicated and very pleased for the good it might do to other servicemen."

I feel vindicated
Daniel Martin

Of the 7,500 veterans who have made a claim for a disablement pension, 1,500 have claimed GWS.

Two year's ago, the High Court ruled in favour of another former soldier - Shaun Rusling - who claimed to have Gulf War Syndrome.

In Mr Rusling's case, the onus was on the Ministry of Defence to prove that GWS did not exist.

The judge ruled that in future cases, such as Mr Martin's, the onus would be on the veteran to prove it did.

Recognition

Veterans have been at loggerheads with the Ministry of Defence since the first Gulf War, arguing over the existence of a syndrome linked to exposure to vaccinations and biological and chemical weapons.

Many former soldiers say they have suffered serious ill health since the war, experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, joint pains and fever.

Having the name officially recognised is a crucial to the veterans' campaign.

Neither Mr Rusling's, nor Mr Martin's cases centred on the definition of what constituted Gulf War Syndrome.

Neither did they look at the symptoms which might make up the condition.

But the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association said the two judgements combined mean the Ministry of Defence "doesn't have a leg to stand on".

However the Ministry of Defence stands by its position there is no proof that GWS is a "discreet pathological entity" - a specific condition with a specific cause.

A spokeswoman said they were "carefully considering" the judgement in Mr Martin's case.

But Professor Malcolm Hooper, chief scientific adviser to Gulf War veterans, said: "The important thing is that the MoD have conceded the label of GWS - although not as a specific disease entity.

"It means we're playing with semantics."

He said he now hoped that other veterans making similar claims would have their cases settled swiftly.

"If there's any justice at all, that's what will happen. The case for GWS has now been made unambiguously and unequivocally in duplicate."


SEE ALSO:
Gulf War veteran wins test appeal
01 Nov 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Veteran wins Gulf War ruling
13 Jun 03 |  Health


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