High Court Says Tony Blair Can Not Be Prosecuted Over Iraq War
The former leader of the Labour Party, Tony Blair, led the British people into a war that would last eight long years. During this time hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s, British and American troops lost their lives. It was a bitter horrible war where innocent blood was shed. What is upsetting for most is that this was was based on lies and false information.
Tony Blair convinced the houses of parliament that Iraq, a rogue state, possessed weapons of mass destruction. He asked parliament to back him and vote in favour of an all-out invasion of Iraq, the house agreed and war was declared. The invasion began on 20 March 2003 and didn’t come to an end until 18th December 2011 when the last American troops finally withdrew from Iraq.
During this bloody war, no evidence was ever found to support Mr Blair’s allegations that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
An Iraqi general, Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat accused Mr Blair of committing a ‘crime of aggression’ by choosing to invade Iraq on false pretences in 2003. The general wanted to see the prosecution of Tony and two other key ministers of the time – Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general.
All of the accused men are immune from any criminal charges over the war, a ruling which was made in 2016 stated that any prosecution would almost certainly involve leaking information which would fall under the Officials Secret Act. A ruling in the House of Lords in 2006 also stated that there is no such crime as a ‘crime of aggression’ in England or Wales.
Mr Abdul Rabbat asked his lawyers to petition the High Court and Supreme Court in London to overturn this ruling. Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, and Mr. Justice Ouseley, dismissed the general’s application on Monday, saying there was “no prospect” of the case succeeding.
Michael Mansfield QC (Abdul Rabbat’s legal representative) argued that a prosecution against Mr Blair should be considered as The Chilcot Inquiry and independent investigation into the Iraq war, showed that a prosecution against Tony Blair would be justified, and as such any immunity against charges should be over turned.
The Chilcot Report was damning:
Blair’s arguments for going to war were “based on flawed intelligence and assessments” that “were not challenged [and] should have been,” the report said.
Mansfield said that, as the international community had held those responsible for the Second World War to account by prosecuting those thought responsible for aggression at Nuremberg, it was the duty of UK courts to follow that example in relation to the Iraq War.
Ultimately the courts decided not to take into account the recommendations of The Chilcot Report or the words of Mr Mansfield. Instead they agreed that the former minister Tony Blair was indeed immune to any calls for legal action or prosecution against himself.
To some it is blatantly obvious that not only were MPs and Lords mislead by Tony Blair, but the UK general public were too. What was meant to be a peaceful disarmament mission turned into a long bitter war with a huge loss of life. Blair and Mr George W Bush had led their people into war on a false pretext that Saddam Hussain possessed WMDs.
Iraq is still dealing with the after effects of the war to this very day and much of the instability in the middle east can be tracked back to this war and Mr Blair.