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UK High Court rejects attempt to privately prosecute Tony Blair over Iraq war

A former Iraqi general has been trying for some time to bring a private prosecution against Blair for his role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair meets Ronald Cohen Tony Blair, pictured in May 2011 in London Source: Matt Cardy/PA Images

THE UK HIGH Court has rejected an attempt by a former Iraqi general to bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair over the UK’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Former general Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat had previously alleged that Blair, who was Prime Minister of Britain at the time, had committed the ‘crime of aggression’ by backing the American invasion of his country 14 years ago.

As such a crime doesn’t exist in England and Wales the case was ruled as having “no prospect” of succeeding, according to the BBC.

Along with Blair, Al Rabbat had hoped to prosecute Blair’s then foreign secretary Jack Straw and his attorney general Lord Goldsmith.

It is not the first time Al Rabbat has attempted to bring such a prosecution (and been rejected) – last year he had tried to bring the case to Westminster Magistrates’ Court only to find his path similarly blocked.

Reacting to the news, a spokesperson for the current British attorney general Jeremy Wright that it is up to the UK Parliament to structure new criminal offences, not the courts:

“In this legal challenge, we argued that this remains the case today and the courts agreed,” they said.

History has not been overly kind to Blair’s decision to back then US president George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq on the pretext that the Middle Eastern country’s leader Saddam Hussein was harbouring weapons of mass destruction, a theory that was subsequently proven to be false.

The publication of the Chilcot Report in July 2016 saw Blair roundly criticised for leading Britain into the conflict, stating that diplomatic measures had not been fully exhausted and that little planning had gone into what shape Iraq would take once hostilities ended.

Read: Complaints lodged to Press Council over offensive Kevin Myers column

Read: Northern Ireland (and the PSNI) is all over the Chilcot Report – here’s why

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