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[casi] War Crimes if no UN Resolution

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I set out below an extract from a posting on an ICC Group. Perhaps we should
warn Ministers(Blair,Straw, and Hoon) that they would be running risks of
prosecution for War Crimes, as would all the British Forces involved in the
event of an attack on Iraq without full UN Authorisation. I am going to. E
Mails are difficult to find but,,


Dear All,

Below is an article reporting on British concerns over potential
prosecutions before the ICC, for UK involvement with the US in the
imminent war against Iraq.

According to the article, "Lord Goldsmith, Attorney General, and
Harriet Harman, Solicitor General, have warned the Government that if
it attacked Iraq without the backing of a UN Resolution action then
it could find itself hauled before the ICC." Prime Minister Tony
Blair and Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon are reportedly also worried
about the potential scenarios.

The article does explain, however, that any UK citizens alleged for
war crimes will have the right to trial in the UK and under British


THE DAILY TELEGRAPH(LONDON), November 06, 2002, Wednesday, Pg. 19,
471 words, 'War crimes' fear for British troops, By Michael Smith
Defence Correspondent

THE Government is concerned that British servicemen and women
involved in any war against Iraq could find themselves facing action
from the International Criminal Court, defence sources said yesterday.

This week's attack, by a CIA Predator drone, on a car containing
al-Qa'eda terrorists in Yemen has served only to intensify concerns
within the Cabinet, which extend to Tony Blair and Geoff Hoon,
Defence Secretary. They are both lawyers by training, as is Jack
Straw, Foreign Secretary, another key player in the debate. "Lawyer
Blair and lawyer Hoon are really worried about this now," one defence
source said.

Lord Goldsmith, Attorney General, and Harriet Harman, Solicitor
General, have warned the Government that if it attacked Iraq without
the backing of a UN Resolution action then it could find itself
hauled before the ICC.

But defence sources said there was just as much concern over the
possibility that even with a resolution in place individual
servicemen might find themselves subject to action.

One suggested that if a British reconnaissance aircraft passed
information to a US ground attack aircraft that subsequently attacked
civilians, the British servicemen might be held responsible.
They would be subject to the ICC, although the pilot of the US
aircraft would not, since America did not recognise the court.

Despite extensive efforts by the British Government and the Foreign
Office in particular, the US administration is opposed to any
recognition of the ICC.

Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, Chief of Defence Staff, who expressed
concerns over the Government's decision to sign up to the ICC, also
warned against the US willingness to act like "a 21st century
high-tech posse".

The attack in Yemen, with the CIA apparently acting as judge, jury
and executioner, was typical of the type of activity over which
Admiral Boyce expressed concern, defence sources said. He advocated
drawing "red lines" beyond which British troops operating alongside
US forces would not go.

He also warned ministers that under the ICC commanders might face a
choice between being accused of war crimes or changing rules of
engagement to the point where the enemy could be certain of striking

The MoD said that any British serviceman or women involved in any
alleged offence brought before the ICC would have to be tried in
Britain and would therefore be subject to the normal laws of the land.

"We obviously agree to share information and intelligence with the
Americans," a spokesman said. "We don't necessarily have any control
over how it is used.

"Nor does it follow that because US servicemen are not subject to the
ICC they are allowed to go out and act with impunity. Any US
serviceman accused of war crimes would be liable to prosecution in
the US courts."

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