Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Iraq War: "A Serious Violation of International Law"

The Guardian reports:

One of Britain's most authoritative judicial figures last night delivered a blistering attack on the invasion of Iraq, describing it as a serious violation of international law, and accusing Britain and the US of acting like a "world vigilante".

Lord Bingham, in his first major speech since retiring as the senior law lord, rejected the then attorney general's defence of the 2003 invasion as fundamentally flawed.

Contradicting head-on Lord Goldsmith's advice that the invasion was lawful, Bingham stated: "It was not plain that Iraq had failed to comply in a manner justifying resort to force and there were no strong factual grounds or hard evidence to show that it had." Adding his weight to the body of international legal opinion opposed to the invasion, Bingham said that to argue, as the British government had done, that Britain and the US could unilaterally decide that Iraq had broken UN resolutions "passes belief".

Addressing the British Institute of International and Comparative Law last night, Bingham said: "If I am right that the invasion of Iraq by the US, the UK, and some other states was unauthorised by the security council there was, of course, a serious violation of international law and the rule of law.

Of course Lord Bingham is right. The Iraq war was blatantly illegal, as I have always maintained. But it's not good enough, five years on, to merely state that the war was unlawful.

We need to make sure that the perpetrators of the war- namely George W. Bush and Tony Bliar- a man who is millions of pounds richer because of the conflict-and the neocon men and women who planned it, are bought to justice. The Nuremburg judgements held that to launch a war of aggression is the 'supreme international crime'- and it is obscene that five years on, those responsible for this outrageous crime- which has led to the deaths of up to 1m people, are still at liberty.

Furthermore, it's also important too that those journalists and writers, who propagandised for an attack on Iraq- in contravention of international law- are also are held accountable for their actions. The trial of Julius Streicher after WW2 sets the precedent.


Anonymous said...

I'd love to believe the propagandists/journalists who paved the way for the vicious wars against Yugoslavia/Iraq will on day be held to account. Great article, Neil.

neil craig said...

Like Streicher some Rwandan journalists have also been convicted purely for incitement of murder.

Tough on Ed Vuliamy, Oliver Kamm, Kate Adie, Jamie Shea & indeed most BBC, ITN & newspaper journalists then.

Anonymous said...

What about Guardian/Observer, neil. Don't forget those progressive Eustonites - Freedland, Cohen, ring any bells.