On Monday, Britain’s High Court dismissed an application for a judicial review to overturn a 2006 ruling by the House of Lords that there is no such crime as the “crime of aggression” under English law.
Michael Mansfield QC, acting for Iraqi General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat, argued that the international law banning aggressive war (which is distinct from defensive war) applied to Britain, and that Blair was at fault for invading Iraq in 2003.
Lord Chief Justice Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd and Mr Justice Ouseley found there was no such crime, and therefore “no prospect” of the case against Blair succeeding.
“If there really is no law against launching an ‘aggressive war’ in England, then the law is an ass,” Galloway wrote for Westmonster.
“The decision by two High Court judges that Tony Blair cannot be prosecuted for the war in Iraq gives immunity and in perpetuity to any two-bit hustler who gets his or her hands on state power in Britain and lays waste the lives of others and their own country’s vital interests.”
The judges rejected the application because Britain’s Parliament had not explicitly said it should accept it, Galloway said, adding that there is “no need for such a parliamentary decision, nor was there any need for the recent adoption of new international law on the matter.”
Galloway says Britain already set its legal face against “aggressive war” during the Nuremberg Trials at the end of WWII.
“In the Nuremberg Trials Britain prosecuted the surviving beasts of German fascism for precisely the crime of launching ‘aggressive war.’ Even though what the genocidal dictator of Germany did was perfectly ‘legal’ under German law, even though there was no international legal definition of ‘aggressive war,’ Britain rightly tried the Nazi beasts and hanged a great number of them.
“From that moment onwards the de jure inadmissibility of such wars was established axiomatically in the British legal system.”
Blair’s war in Iraq was not a “war of last resort” and had no sound basis, Galloway says. He said its consequences are “heading towards the gravity of the Hitlerite crimes.”
“More than a million people have died and that number is still rising daily. A fanatic mutation of Islamic interpretation has been spawned which now spans the globe.
“Sovereign states have been invaded occupied and destroyed. International law has been shredded. Torture in secret prisons of victims illegally kidnapped and ferried to their fates on the torture tables of tyranny by, amongst others, us. As a result of Tony Blair’s war the youngest of our children will likely not enjoy a moment of peace and security in their whole lives.
“It’s quite a charge sheet. But not one we are told that can ever be tested in a British Court. If that’s justice, I’m a banana.”
The 2.6-million-word Chilcot report, which examined the first eight years of the war, said Britain chose to join the invasion of Iraq in 2003 before peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted, alongside then-US President George W. Bush, whom Blair had already pledged to support.
The report, released last July, added that the UK’s involvement in Iraq was based on a false pretext that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and that Blair had misled the British public.
Blair’s arguments for going to war were “based on flawed intelligence and assessments” that “were not challenged [and] should have been,” the report said.