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It might seem ridiculous but the DWP and Atos are guilty of the behaviour described in this image – and much worse – leading to loss of income and stress that, for some, has been intolerable. Thousands of deaths have been recorded.

Pressure is mounting to have leading Conservative politicians tried from crimes against humanity, with the launch of a new e-petition on the government’s own website, to compliment a submission to the International Criminal Court over the summer.

The e-petition by Christopher Gare calls on the government “To Investigate the DWP and connected MPs for corporate manslaughter, in relation to the WCA & Atos Healthcare… We have seen deaths rise of people on sickness benefit from 310 in 2010 to 10,600 in nine months of 2011.”

The reasoning behind both bids is simple enough – that the so-called ‘reform’ of welfare benefits and, in particular, those related to sickness and disability, have in fact led to the deaths of more than 70 sick or disabled people every week.

These deaths have occurred as the victims have been passing through the government’s dreaded work capability assessments, as administered by the private company Atos, under instruction from the Department for Work and Pensions. The stress of the assessment process, couple with fears about the future, if benefits are removed, has been too much for many to manage and they have died. I believe the most common cause of death is heart attack, although I sit ready to be corrected.

Everybody who died had been found unfit for work by their own GPs. In order to cut their benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions must have relieved those doctors of their duty of care for those patients. That duty would have then passed to the DWP. For those disability benefit claimants to have died after the DWP took over that duty of care, it is logical to believe that the DWP was reckless about the effect its decisions would have.

The government ministers most responsible for the current system are those who were at the head of the DWP until the government reshuffle last month: Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling and Maria Miller. Therefore it seems most likely that they should be the subjects of any investigation.

… Which is exactly what disability specialist Samuel Miller told the office of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He contacted the ICC during the summer, seeking clarification on whether austerity deaths of the sick and disabled in the UK are considered a crime against humanity by that court.

If they are, he intended to file a complaint against Messrs Smith, Grayling and Ms Miller for the “draconian welfare reforms and the resultant deaths of their society’s most vulnerable”.

If you think the DWP has caused the deaths of sick and disabled people, then follow the link and sign the petition. If you don’t, have a look around the web and read the evidence for yourself. There’s plenty available!