Blair prosecution opposed by attorney general, says paper

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 17, 2017

UK Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC is prepared to go to court to demand that former Prime Minister Tony Blair not be prosecuted over the Iraq war, according to a report.

The newspaper said it had seen legal documents showing Mr Wright has formally asked to join future hearings and for the attempt to prosecute Blair and his top aides to be rejected.

A spokesperson for Wright told The Press Association: "It's not unusual for the attorney general to intervene in cases in order to represent the public interest".

It seeks their conviction for the crime of "aggression" and is based on the findings of the Chilcot report into the war, according to The Guardian.

The case relates to the 2003 war, which the Chilcot report found was not a last resort after all peaceful options had been exhausted, and that the case for weapons of mass destruction was exaggerated.

The planned move by the attorney general follows a judge's ruling a year ago that Blair has immunity from criminal charges over Iraq, and that pursuing a prosecution could "involve details being disclosed under the Official Secrets Act", the Guardian reported.

But it says a court ruled in 2016 Mr Blair could not be prosecuted.

The private prosecution, based on last year's Chilcot Inquiry report, is being brought by a former chief of staff of the Iraqi Army, General Abdul-Wahid Shannan ar-Ribat.

Khan said: "My client wants those responsible held to account and prosecuted using the full force of the law".

The Guardian reported that Wright considered the case to be hopeless as the crime of aggression does not exist in English law and that parliaments, not courts, make criminal laws.

However, there is a question mark over the assumption, as the newspaper quoted a 2003 memo from Lord Goldsmith, which said: "Aggression is a crime under customary worldwide law which automatically forms part of domestic law".

Mr Khan added: "Everybody, including the attorney general, should welcome this court case".

General Ribat's legal team, including Michael Mansfield QC, believe the judge was wrong to say the three senior ministers could not be prosecuted and that there are "overwhelming grounds" to challenge the decision.

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