Sunday 26 January 2003

Blair, Hoon and Straw to be investigated for war crimes

If, as appears likely, the UK is involved in the use of force against Iraq the leaders of the UK Government will be investigated by the prosecutor of the international Criminal Court (ICC) if it breaches international humanitarian law (IHL). So promise a coalition of professors of law and leading NGOs from around the world. The UK,US and Canadian Governments have today been served with letters before action warning them of the consequences of an illegal use of force against Iraq. In the UK, Tony Blair was served at 10 Downing Street during filming for a Channel 4 TV programme on January 31.

The ICC came into being in July 2002 and is shortly to commence work. It will investigate and prosecute those guilty of "genocide," "crimes against humanity" and "war crimes." The definition of "war crimes" is wide and would catch indiscriminate methods of attack or weapon systems used by the UK and US in the 1991 Gulf War, and in Kosovo and Afghanistan. Whereas those wars took place before July 2002 any war in Iraq could be subject to the ICC's jurisdiction. Thus the following which have been used in the past and are in breach of IHL are now prohibited:

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