Bid to prosecute Tony Blair over Iraq war blocked by High Court

Tony Blair knew what was happening in Guantanamo

The High Court has blocked a bid by a former Iraqi general to submit private prosecution proceedings against Tony Blair over the Iraq War.

General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat accused the former British prime minister, Mr Blair, of committing a “crime of aggression” by invading Iraq in 2003.

Mr Justice Ouseley, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, and the Lord Chief Justice threw the general’s application out, saying there was “no prospect” of the case succeeding.

General Al-Rabbat wanted to prosecute Mr Blair and two former ministers – Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General and Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw.

The general currently resides in Muscat, Oman, and does not possess a passport to travel to Britain.

His lawyers requested permission from London’s High Court to seek judicial review in an attempt to get the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling by the House of Lords in 2006, that there is no such law of “crime of aggression” under the law of England and Wales.

Westminster Magistrates Court refused to issue summonses last November on the grounds the former ministers had legal immunity, and in any event, the current Attorney General would have to give consent.

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Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC intervened in the case and his team urged Mr Justice Ouseley and Lord Thomas to block the general’s legal application because it was “hopeless” and unwinnable because the “crime of aggression” is not recognised under English law.

Michael Mansfield QC, representing General Al Rabbat, said at a recent hearing the inquiry into the invasion of Iraq carried out by Sir John Chilcot, which ended with a report published last July last year, justified the prosecution of Mr Blair.

Mr Mansfield stated that the main findings were included in a paragraph in the 12-volume report and could be recapped as concluding that Saddam Hussein did not pose a serious threat to British interests, and the intelligence pertaining to weapons of mass destruction had been conveyed with “unwarranted certainty”.

The report also stated that “peaceful alternatives” to military invasion had not been sufficiently explored and war was not necessary.

Mr Mansfield added that the international crime of a “war of aggression” had been accepted by then British general Sir Hartley Shawcross QC in the 1940s, at the time of the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war crimes.

But the High Court ruled: “In our opinion there is no prospect of the Supreme Court holding that the decision in Jones was wrong or the reasoning no longer applicable.”

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