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[casi] Blair waged war illegally, say leading lawyers

In the US there is a proper investigation into the use of
intelligence leading to the war.

Here there is not. Worse still, the Hutton inquiry has successfully
taken most of the pressure off Blair, Hoon and Straw. The Liberal
Democrats and the Tories have not succeeded in having a judicial

02 November 2003

Tony Blair is facing a formal complaint to the international war-
crimes tribunal by a panel of senior international legal experts for
unlawfully waging war in Iraq.

The panel of eight law professors, including experts from Oxford
University and the London School of Economics, is studying evidence
that alleges Britain has broken international treaties on war and
human rights in Iraq.

The allegations centre on Iraqi civilian deaths caused by British
cluster bombs, the targeting of power stations and the use of toxic
depleted uranium shells against tanks.

Lawyers advising the panel allege that these tactics have led to
thousands of avoidable civilian casualties - in breach of the Geneva
Conventions. The case against the Prime Minister is strengthened,
they claim, by his failure to get UN sanction for the war.

The panel will meet in London on Saturday to decide whether the
evidence is strong enough for a formal complaint to the chief
prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Under the Rome statute that set the ICC up in 1998, the chief
prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, an Argentinian who investigated
atrocities by his country's former military junta, can launch
independent inquiries into war crimes complaints.

The inquiry's organisers think it highly likely the panel will find
enough evidence to justify a complaint, but it remains unclear how
the court will react. Earlier complaints about the war in Iraq, by
groups of Greek and Belgian lawyers, were rejected.

Severin Carrell The Independent

Mark Parkinson

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