The Iraq Inquiry

(FEDERALJACK)   The Iraq Inquiry, like the 9/11 commission, was one of the most anticipated investigations of modern times. At last people thought that there would be an opportunity to bring those that illegally invaded Iraq to account. With over a million people dead and hundreds of thousands of more injured, maimed and crippled as a result of the war, the British public, understandably, want those responsible to be punished for their crimes. With the Iraq Inquiry several months into its investigation it seems fitting that we explore whether or not it will serve the purpose that so many have hoped for.

The BBC, among other News Channels, has been stressing that this is merely an Inquiry and not a trial. They have even had numerous ‘experts’ on international law claim that international law is hazy and unclear. This is, however, a misleading claim at best. If you read the Nuremberg principles (available at http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/390?OpenDocument) then you will see under the heading of crimes against peace that these crimes include the following:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i)

Under this definition of a crime against peace the Iraq war is illegal unless it can be proven beyond doubt that Iraq posed a sufficient threat for the war to be deemed a defensive war. This is where the Iraq Inquiry becomes essential, if they find the war to be an aggressive war then prosecution should follow so long as the justice system operates as it is intended to. The Nuremberg Principles even state explicitly that:

The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him

This throws the testimony of the so called ‘experts’ on international law into disrepute. There is nothing remotely hazy or unclear about the Nuremberg principles or indeed the European human right convention or the UN charter, all of which could be used to prosecute those responsible for the war. So although the Iraq Inquiry isn’t a trial it should lead to a criminal prosecution so long as it, along with the justice system, performs its function properly.

Unfortunately the chances of prosecutions actually happening are very low due to the lack of people with the necessary authority willing to take the risk. Even the chair of the Iraq Inquiry felt it prudent to remind the public that it wasn’t a trial when Tony Blair was called to the Inquiry. There was a media propaganda campaign both prior to and subsequent to Tony Blair giving evidence but you must remember that the law is explicit and on our side. We must continue to campaign for the arrest and subsequent conviction of Tony Blair along with other key cabinet members such as Gordon Brown who bankrolled the war.

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