by Graham Pierrepoint
Despite having made an attempt to redress matters following last year’s ground-breaking Chilcott inquiry – which found that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair may have acted on poor evidence to be able to take action in the Iraq war of 2003 – it appears that the former statesman may be taken to task with regard to his overall role in the conflict. Blair is still regarded as a divisive figure in UK politics as well as on the world stage – and while the ex-Labour leader may have made something of a return to the headlines in recent months with regard to the forthcoming Brexit, it appears that his role in helping to bring Saddam Hussein to task will still dog him for the foreseeable future.
At present, a court is hearing allegations that Blair should be prosecuted over an ‘unlawful’ war in Iraq, despite claims to the contrary stating that he should be protected in law by the fact that crimes of aggression are not enshrined in UK law. It is General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat who is bringing such complaints before the UK justice system – and Michael Mansfield QC, arguing on his behalf, states that a war crimes trial following the outcome of the Chilcot report – and given Blair’s response in light of its findings.
It is thought that General Rabbat wishes to bring about a private prosecution – and that the ‘unlawful war’ should be pursued via the courts in the interest of bringing Blair to justice. It is also argued that ‘Saddam Hussein did not pose an urgent threat to the UK’ – and the general has pursued a High Court review after being turned away from Westminster Magistrates Court in recent months for summons to be issued.
A decision on whether or not further action will be taken lies with the judges – as the hearing this week sought to provide them with a valid complaint to insist upon pursuing the former head of state in a war crimes court. The counter-argument, again, lies upon the fact that it is somewhat unarguable in law in England – so it will remain to be seen just how far it goes.
Will Blair be brought to task over the conflict in 2003? It will remain to be seen – but for the time being, those seeking justice will continue to pursue all channels that remain.