Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Tony Blair to escape war crimes trial

Legal loophole likely to offer Tony Blair escape from any war crimes trial

© Andrew Winning
5 July, 2016

Writing in the Guardian, human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC argued on Tuesday that despite “engaging” calls from both Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish National Party MP Alex Salmond for Blair’s impeachment, the prospect is unlikely.
Now Robertson claims the former premier might have in fact committed a crime of aggression – “a crime against peace.”The International Criminal Court (ICC) warned on Sunday that while Tony Blair would not be prosecuted for war crimes, soldiers on the ground could be.
Prosecution rules for crimes of aggression will only be finalized next year, and the ICC has no power to litigate against breaches in the UN charter that are not defined as war crimes.
Even once it does regulate on the matter, Blair would still not be brought to The Hague as law is not retroactive.
Some commentators, including Daily Mail columnist Peter Oborne, have even suggested Blair knew from the start he would not be prosecuted for his decision to go to war in Iraq.
“International criminal law is still in its infancy, and to advance it the UK must ratify the amendment that will make the crime of aggression triable by the ICC,” said Robertson.

ICC Prosecutor emphasises Int'l Criminal Court doesn't yet have jurisdiction for crime of aggression,distinct from war crimes.

Outrage as ICC claims Blair won't go on trial for war crimes

George Galloway: "Being impeached would be worse for Blair than jail"

Former British PM Tony Blair may not be jailed but will be “dragged before the bar of the House” for lying to parliamentarians over the Iraq war, former Labour and Respect MP George Galloway told RT.

The massively delayed and hugely controversial Chilcot Inquiry, set to be published on Wednesday, was tasked with examining the first eight years of the war, starting with the run-up to hostilities and including the period of occupation.

It is expected to be heavily critical of Blair, but will not call for criminal charges against him.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ruled out trying Blair for war crimes, but speaking to RT, Galloway says Blair will “be tried elsewhere.”He says an impeachment process will “definitely be launched” by the many MPs who are trenchant opponents of the war, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The members of parliament long ago reached the judgment that Tony Blair lied to the House, which is [as] grave an offense [as] any prime minister can commit against democracy, against the parliament,” he said.

And so an impeachment process will definitely be launched … if you think about it, which MPs are going to go through the lobby to vote for Tony Blair after Chilcot and after the carnage that we have seen in Iraq?”

Galloway says it is possible Blair could be sent to prison by the House, but an impeachment would be just as bad for the former PM.

He will have to be brought before the bar by the sergeant at arms … and he will have to stand there and face the music by the parliamentarians whom he misled.

And for a man like him, that’s in a way almost as bad as going to jail.”

There will be sanctions against Blair, which could include him being barred from ever seeking public office again, Galloway says.

It is only just a day or two ago he was volunteering himself to be the British negotiator with the EU for our Brexit. The man has no shame.”

Scottish MP Alex Salmond has speculated that the ongoing coup against Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn was launched by a core of right-wing Labour MPs because they fear the anti-war leader will seek the impeachment of Blair.

Galloway agrees, saying the attempt to oust Corbyn certainly has connections to the Chilcot inquiry.

I have no doubt at all. You’ve only got to look at who the controlling hands are in this coup and they all lead back to … Tony Blair.

And if you don’t believe that, I’ve got a London bridge I’d like to sell you.”

An anti-war protest will gather in Westminster on Wednesday calling for Blair to “face the full force of the law.”

Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), says the Iraq war “disaster” began with a lie.

If Tony Blair and other politicians responsible had told the truth it would never have happened. A country was destroyed, millions of innocent Iraqis were killed, British soldiers were killed, and terrorism has spread across the Middle East.

“No one is exempt from justice,” she said.

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