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UK court blocks attempt to prosecute Blair over Iraq

1st Aug 2017
UK court blocks attempt to prosecute Blair over Iraq

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

 

LONDON (AA): A U.K. court on Monday rejected a former Iraqi general’s bid to bring a private prosecution against former British Prime Minister Tony Blair over the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Abdul Wahed Shannan al-Rabbat wanted to prosecute Blair, as well as former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, for committing “the crime of aggression”.

Rabbat’s legal action was initially rejected last year by a lower court but was then referred to the High Court.

Monday’s ruling said there was no crime of aggression in the law of England and Wales under which to proceed with a prosecution.

A coalition of Western forces invaded Iraq in 2003, claiming that then-leader Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Prime Minister Tony Blair joined this coalition as a staunch supporter of the claims. The invasion which led to years of protracted conflict.

A U.K. inquiry by Sir John Chilcot last year said the Blair government had failed to exhaust all peaceful options before joining the coalition.

“The judgments about Iraq’s capabilities … were presented with a certainty that was not justified,” the report read.

More than 250,000 people, including combatants but mostly civilians, are thought to have been killed in Iraq’s upheaval since 2003.

[Archive Photo: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair seen speaking at Yalta strategy meeting on 12 September 2015. Photographer: Yalta Strategy Press Office/AA]

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