Tony Blair Iraq trial blocked by judges

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The most senior judge in the United Kingdom has brought to an end the hope of prosecuting Tony Blair, Jack Straw and Peter Goldsmith for the crime of aggression in invading Iraq in 2003. He then sought a judicial review to get the Supreme Court to overturn a 2006 House of Lords ruling in R v Jones (Margaret) which clarified that the "crime of aggression', which Al Rabbat alleged Blair had committed, did not exist in England and Wales".

Michael Mansfield QC said the offence of waging an aggressive war had effectively been assimilated into English law.

While the court ruled that Blair cannot be charged for crimes of aggression under worldwide law, he can still be charged with abuse of prisoners of war as well as interfering with an occupied country's political and economic system, as stated in the Hague and Geneva rules. The decision blocks an attempt by a former Iraqi general, Abdulwaheed al-Rabbat, to bring a private war crimes prosecution against the former Labour leader.

When Parliament gave effect to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court through the ICC Act 2001 it did not include the crime of aggression.

She said last year's Chilcot report showed Blair had "no respect for cabinet procedure", parliament or global law.

But the judges rejected that bid and upheld a lower court's ruling, saying it was "for Parliament and Parliament alone" to decide whether "to make such conduct criminal under domestic law".

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He wanted the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, to scrap the decree that there was no such crime as the "crime of aggression" in law. He also told the court "it was an unlawful war".

The invasion led to a lengthy inquiry in Britain led by John Chilcot, who ruled the invasion had not been the "last resort" presented to members of parliament as well as the public.

Mr Mansfield argued that the Jones case was wrongly decided and permission should be given to allow General Al Rabbat to re-argue the issue before the Supreme Court.

Lawyers for Al Rabbat had argued that last year's publication of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war had given new grounds to prosecute Blair.

Lord Bingham said a charge of aggression "would involve a decision in the courts on the culpability in going to war".

Rabbat was not in court to hear the decision his legal team said.

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