Judges block bid to prosecute Blair over 2003 Iraq war

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LONDON. – Tony Blair should not face prosecution for his role in the 2003 Iraq war, the high court has ruled.

The lord chief justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, and another senior judge, Mr Justice Ouseley, said yesterday that there was no crime of aggression in English law under which the former prime minister could be charged.

The decision blocks an attempt by a former Iraqi general, Abdulwaheed al-Rabbat, to bring a private war crimes prosecution against the former Labour leader.

The two judges recognised that a crime of aggression had recently been incorporated into international law, but said it did not apply retroactively. The offence is not on UK statute books and it was for parliament to decide whether or not to do so, their judgment noted.

A recent supreme court case entitled Jones had ruled there was a no crime of aggression in English law, Thomas said. That judgment rejected an appeal by anti-war protesters that the damage they caused in 2003 was justified because they were preventing the greater crime of aggression in Iraq.

“There is no prospect of the supreme court departing from the decision in Jones,” Thomas added.

Earlier this month, lawyers for Rabbat argued that Westminster magistrates court was wrong to prevent the case from proceeding. Michael Mansfield QC said the offence of waging an aggressive war had effectively been assimilated into English law.

The Chilcot inquiry’s conclusion that the invasion of Iraq was unnecessary and undermined the United Nations requires the prosecution of Tony Blair, Mansfield told the high court.

The aim of the case was to force Blair – as well as the former foreign secretary Jack Straw and the former attorney general Lord Goldsmith – to answer for their actions in court. – The Guardian.