Chilcot War Inquiry: Professor to launch 'Nuremberg' war crimes prosecution against Blair
By Glen Owen
Plans to bring a war crimes prosecution against Tony Blair based on last week’s bombshell evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry have been launched by a leading law professor.
The move could see Mr Blair follow former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic into a dock in The Hague.
Professor Bill Bowring says the revelation that the Government rejected Foreign Office warnings not to invade Iraq means there is a good chance Mr Blair can be 'investigated, at the very least’ for war crimes.
'We now know that the Government was explicitly warned beforehand that the UK risked being prosecuted for going to war,’ said Prof Bowring.
Professor Bowring has launched plans to bring a war crimes prosecution against Tony Blair
He says that he will deploy the same law used to convict the killers of Garry Newlove, the Cheshire father of three kicked to death in front of his family in 2007, and Nazis at the Nuremberg Trials in 1945-46.
He is drafting a submission to the International Criminal Court (ICC) arguing that Mr Blair is guilty under the law of 'joint enterprise’, which holds people responsible for the actions of a wider group if they know they are involved in criminal enterprises.
It means the former Prime Minister would be liable for any crimes committed by US forces, such as disproportionate bombing.
On Tuesday, Sir Michael Wood, the chief legal adviser to the Foreign Office from 2001 to 2006, said he warned the then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that invading Iraq without UN backing would 'amount to the crime of aggression’ and could lead
to the prosecution of British soldiers and politicians. Mr Straw rejected the warning.
Prof Bowring said the April 2002 meeting between Mr Blair and George Bush at the President’s Texas ranch, described as the moment the agreement to invade was 'signed in blood’, would be critical in the case.
'Joint enterprise’ was used to convict the killers of Mr Newlove in 2008. Though one kick killed Mr Newlove, three men were convicted of his murder because they were aware they were engaged in joint criminality.
The ICC’s chief prosecutor has said that he could 'envisage’ a situation in which Mr Blair found himself in the dock.
An ICC spokeswoman said that the mandate of the chief prosecutor’s office covered the conduct of Allied forces in the war, but would not comment on Prof Bowring’s specific legal argument.