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Blair: no warning --- Illegal?

At lunchtime today Blair said "There will be no further warning
whatsoever" referring to an attack on Iraq (see below). Below the news
report is a comment written by a Professor of International Law in
response to a similar statement by a US spokesperson a few days ago,
suggesting that giving warning of an attack is a legal requirement under
international law.  Presumably Britain is also party to the conventions he
mentions??? (any experts out there?) 


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rania Masri <>

This is definitely and absolutely illegal under international law; he's
hanging himself by saying 'no warnings'!

Sunday November 15 8:33 AM ET
Iraqi Crisis Not Yet Over - UK's Blair

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tony Blair said Sunday that the crisis
over UN weapons inspectors in Iraq is not over and that Britain remained
``ready, willing and able'' to strike against Baghdad if necessary.

``This is not over until absolute and unconditional compliance is guaranteed
and delivered. Until that we remain on alert,'' Blair, speaking to reporters
outside his Downing Street office, said.

He said Saddam Hussein would in future be given no notice of plans by the
West to launch attacks. ``There will be no further warning whatsoever,'' he

Blair confirmed that, like President Clinton, he had Saturday authorized the
use of British forces against Baghdad before Iraqi messages to the United
Nations Security Council had caused action to be called off.

Blair welcomed the promises from Baghdad to allow the weapons inspectors to
resume their work unconditionally. ''However, all this has to be not just
accepted without negotiation or amendment...More important, it must be acted
upon,'' he said.


----- Forwarded Message:
[presumably most of this also applies to the UK? --- seb]

The United States government is a contracting party to the 1907
Hague Convention on the Opening of Hostilities, which is the "Supreme Law
of the Land" under Article VI of the United States Constitution. See 36
Statutes at Large 2259. Thereunder the contracting parties agreed that
hostilities between them "must not commence without previous and explicit
warning, in the form either of a declaration of war giving reasons, or of
an ultimatum with conditional declaration of war." Iraq is not a party to
this treaty. But like the other Conventions adopted by the Second Hague
Peace Conference, this Convention articulates a requirement of customary
international law. Even the Japanese government attempted to give
notice--albeit unsuccessfully--to the United States government before
their attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. 
        In any event,it appears that the Clinton/Gore government officials
plan to behave even worse than some of the Japanese War Criminals tried
before the Tokyo Tribunal in 1945.

                Francis A. Boyle
        Professor of International Law

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