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Gulf War Syndrome court victory

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LONDON, England -- War veterans who claim to be suffering from Gulf War Syndrome have won a landmark legal victory at London's High Court.

One of Britain's leading judges backed a war pensions tribunal ruling on Friday that had for the first time given official recognition to the syndrome.

The case is of major significance for many war veterans, though the ruling is unlikely to be the end of the matter in Britain. The UK's Ministry of Defence is expected to appeal.

Mr. Justice Newman's decision came as he dismissed an appeal by the ministry against the pensions tribunal findings. He said the tribunal had been careful to express its decision that Gulf War Syndrome was "capable of being an accepted disablement."

"I cannot find any basis upon which the tribunal's decision can be legally impugned," he said.

The case centered on former Parachute Regiment medical officer Shaun Rusling who suffers from a range of illnesses that he attributes to his service in the 1991 Gulf War.

Rusling, 44, receives a 90 percent war disablement pension but has continued to fight for official recognition of Gulf War Syndrome, symptoms of which are said to include fatigue, nausea, fever and depression.

Sufferers claim Gulf War Syndrome was caused, at least in part, by their being given a large number of injections and tablets when they arrived in the Gulf.

The MoD insists there is no authoritative medical evidence to support the existence of Gulf War Syndrome.

In a statement after the hearing the MoD pointed out that despite the decision, the judgment did not find that Gulf War Syndrome exists.

"The judge expresses no opinion on whether Gulf War Syndrome exists," the statement said.

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