Chilcot Inquiry Into Iraq War to Be Published in Summer 2016

The six-year inquiry into the U.K.'s involvement in the Iraq War should be published in the summer of 2016, according to a letter addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron from the inquiry's chairman, Sir John Chilcot published on the report website on Thursday.

Chilcot, who was appointed in 2009 by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown to lead the inquiry, wrote that the text of the report should be completed by April 2016. The report would then undergo national security testing and ought to be published in June or July 2016.

The report covers British involvement in Iraq between 2001 and 2009 and has heard from hundreds of witnesses, including Tony Blair, who was prime minister at the time of the invasion of Iraq, in the course of its investigation. Families of British soldiers killed in the Iraq War demanded in August that Chilcot set a deadline for publication of the report.

The inquiry has been delayed by a process known as Maxwellisation—whereby individuals facing criticism in the report are given an opportunity to respond confidentially before it is published. In August, Chilcot defended the process as "an essential part of the Inquiry's procedures" which would ensure that conclusions drawn "are robust and that any criticism included in the final report is soundly based, fair and reasonable."

Throughout the course of the inquiry, Chilcot has been paid at a rate of £790 ($1,206) per day while other committee members have received £565 ($863) per day, according to the inquiry website. Until the end of the financial year 2015, the inquiry had cost more than £11.7 million ($17.9 million) since it began in 2009.

In Thursday's letter, Chilcot said that the report will run to more than two million words in total when complete. "My colleagues and I remain committed to producing a report that will meet the very wide ranging terms of reference we were given and reflect the considerable investment of time and effort by all involved," said Chilcot.

Between March 2003 and February 2009, 179 U.K. troops were killed in operations in Iraq,

according to the BBC. 4,491 U.S. troops were killed during the conflict according to the U.S. Department of Defense, while the Iraq Body Count project estimates the number of Iraqi casualties between 2003 and 2013 as 174,000, including 112,000-123,000 civilians.