August 23, 2010
from GlobalResearch Website
Ex-Prime Minister and post-Downing Street millionaire Tony Blair, to celebrate the publication of his book A Journey, is holding a ‘signing’ session at Waterstones, Piccadilly on 8 September.
That this man, responsible for taking us into an illegal war, playing his part in the ruination of an ancient country because he ‘believed he was right’, should advertise himself in this way has caused outrage.
Time, I think, to look at
where we, and Blair, actually stand in terms of what we can and cannot do to
call him to account.
How often has any state or rather, how many powerful Western states
have been brought to account for breaching international law? And how many
exempt themselves from the laws while insisting others abide by them?
To get just one of the
West’s leaders into court and thereby create a legal precedent, will make
all the world’s leaders sit up and take note.
When the Court was proposed, its importance was such that 60 rather than the usual 30 ratifications were required. Considering that the Convention on Cluster Munitions took four years to reach 30 ratifications allowing it to pass into law, support for the ICC was obviously keen in that the Rome Statute gained twice the number of ratifications in the same amount of time.
countries felt the need for such a Court, but of the Security Council’s big
5, only the UK and France are fully signed up.
The reasoning behind this was that any British citizen,
believing that a crime has taken place, has the duty to inform the police
and ask them to investigate. In this case we used the
Court Act 2001, which Blair’s own government had incorporated into British
The lawyers also did not know and could not find out - which is
where the Dorset Police came in.
Unlike Chris Coverdale who, in the template letter he sent round to campaigners, was accusing Blair of genocide, I decided to go for war crimes and crimes against humanity, these being much easier to prove under the definitions of the Act (cluster munitions and depleted uranium weapons cause disproportionate harm to civilians, constituting war crimes).
than swamping Dorset Police with what I thought was evidence, I simply sent
them a copy of the relevant part of the Act, knowing full well that it would
have been unread by the majority of the British police.
The difficulty was that any complaint of illegal
behavior by members of the government comes under the jurisdiction of the
Met, so any requests to investigate with a view to prosecution go through
them to the CPS, the body that decides which public prosecutions go ahead.
All other police forces simply refused any such requests made of them.
was in answer to LAAW’s application, the CPS having instructed the Met at
the end of November 2003, but the Met not informing LAAW until sometime in
January 2004. My local force must have felt both insulted and angry at being
treated in such an offhand manner by the Met, and this may explain why I
ended up achieving more than I hoped.
So the most
pressing subject for discussion at the
Rome Statute Review Conference that
took place earlier this year was the defining of this crime and how a
prosecution would be brought at the Court (the so-called ‘trigger’
It would be very ‘political’ to make judgments on the decision to go to war. But the ICC prosecution would not be for the decision to go to war.
That decision is always political.
Even in civil wars, the propaganda that drives neighbor to
attack neighbor is mostly politically driven. It is the act of waging war
that is the crime to be prosecuted, and the decision is only part of that
act. While the ‘trigger’ allowing a prosecution to take place remains under
the control of the Security Council it is impossible for any of the
permanent members of the Council to be prosecuted for a crime they show an
unhealthy willingness to commit. Indeed, three of them are able to control
an international body they do not support.
That political support
would be more honestly and democratically expressed through the General
Assembly, where all nations can have their say. And the best way to avoid
the ICC being ‘politicised’ is to keep it well away from the Security
Amendments have been incorporated which include both the definition of the crime of aggression (identifying the decision and initiation processes, preparations for war and the various actions that, as a whole or in part, constitute a crime of aggression), and a set of conditions for the exercise of jurisdiction by the court in relation to that crime.
The conditions make
no reference to the exclusive need of the Security Council for
predetermination before allowing the ICC to investigate and prosecute.
Instead, if after 6 months the Council has not acted, the Prosecutor can
seek a formal authority to investigate from 6 judges of the Court itself.
Everyone, including the UK government says that this means nothing will happen until 2017 and, according to the Foreign Office,
But look at it another way.
They have seven years to obtain half the ratifications they originally achieved in four. 110 countries have ratified the Statute, and a further 35 have signed but not ratified. Even with behind-the-scenes arm twisting, surely 30 states will step forward and clear the way for prosecuting the crime of aggression?
They must do it by January 2017 to get the crime of aggression onto the
books. But it is entirely possible they will fulfill that condition before
So if and when the crime of aggression is incorporated into our domestic
law, we can forget about seeing Blair prosecuted for it.
August 24, 2010
from DissidentVoice Website
Where individual states are concerned, every state has the right to self defense (Article 51, UN Charter), but one must prove an attack on one’s territory has taken place (a breach of the state’s sovereignty) or that an attack is genuinely imminent.
The only other legal military action is that properly authorized by the Security Council, whether for peace-keeping, intervention or to enforce international law.
People want to see Blair tried for war crimes, crimes against humanity and the supreme crime, the crime of aggression.
But another crime was committed
when we invaded Iraq and, more importantly, which has now been confirmed by
papers released since the invasion and by evidence from the Iraq Inquiry.
The crime that Blair committed knowingly, deliberately and because, in his
own words “I believe I was right” is regime change.
A Downing Street memo in March 2002 says:
It also, tellingly, has this to say:
A paper produced by the Cabinet Office in July 2002, discussing the military aspects of invading Iraq, recognizes both the US aim of regime change, and the need for lawful justification.
And in her
evidence to the Iraq Inquiry, Elizabeth
Wilmshurst revealed that not a single legal adviser within the Foreign
Office believed the war to be legal. All the advice being given to Blair
from 2001 onwards was that invasion for the purpose of regime change was
That the whole thing was an inflated tissue of lies built on very doubtful intelligence did not matter to him. That he stood up in the House of Commons and lied to Parliament did not matter, although that in itself was a serious offence deserving of punishment.
What mattered was that it was necessary to prove that Britain was under threat of imminent attack. Failing a UN resolution authorizing force, only this would make his drive to war legitimate.
And he was committed to going to war. Bush and
his team cared little for legality, world opinion or that of their own
citizens. But Britain on the whole is a law-abiding country, and Parliament
would only back Blair if they could be convinced the invasion would be
This breach of international law is considered
part of the crime of aggression 1 by
the ICC, but as we have seen, the invasion
of Iraq will not be covered, having taken place before the crime of
aggression becomes prosecutable. What should we prosecute him for, now that
we know we cannot pursue this route?
The only state that could justifiably go to the ICJ with this would be Iraq itself (it’s always a good idea to install a friendly government in the country you have invaded and occupied. It avoids problems like this). Many hold that Iraq’s current government is illegal, and one could perhaps find enough surviving members of the pre-invasion government (illegally overthrown) to take a dispute to The Hague.
But one would still have to cope with the
Security Council’s vetoes.
Yes, each serviceman or woman should be held
responsible for their individual acts, but Blair was at the head of the
chain of command, and carries the ultimate responsibility.
As Felicity Arbuthnot
demonstrates, Blair has accumulated millions out of the contacts
he made from his decision to invade Iraq. Another possibility, considering
his lies to Parliament, his manipulation of, and misrepresentation of, the
intelligence he was given, the financial deals he has set up and his fight
to keep those secret despite regulations, would be his
abuse of office.
To quote another government source:
They say they want to avoid people using this action to make political statements or cause embarrassment, but they need to be reminded that nothing should hinder any individual or group from seeking justice.
Sheer expense will make people think carefully before taking such an action, and there are many better ways to cause embarrassment.
And as with seeking an advisory opinion from the
ICJ, it would be best to build a coalition of responsible and serious
British organizations and citizens, rather than relying on an individual or
a campaigning organization. A coalition would be far more likely to obtain a
universal jurisdiction arrest warrant, should we need the consent of the
Director of Public Prosecutions.
But, and this is an essential ‘but’, funds must
be available to cover the costs of the other side should one lose. Put all
the peace campaigners and our cash-strapped organizations together, and we
would still not have the money to go up against Blair’s millions. The only
answer to that is to engage the backing of some seriously rich people who
are committed to peace and law.
Juries failed to agree, resulting in
We have to remind ourselves that, although we are fighting against ‘the system’, many people within that system feel as we do, and are as committed to law and the truth as we are.
We have to keep going because sometimes the
system is on our side.
Until Blair is made fully accountable for his actions we are not free from this shame.
That is why, in this morass of law and politics,
we must go on searching for a way that furthers, endorses and upholds both
international and domestic law, and we start by getting Tony Blair