21st Century Wire says…
Of course a ‘technicality’ would be found to give that slippery eel Tony Blair some light relief and to keep coveted information safe under the ‘Official Secrets Act’. We wouldn’t want that two week scouring of the Chilcot Inquiry papers by the British Security Services to indicate that indeed Chilcot himself could have ‘mistakenly’ left out certain information of the report, would we.
Jeremy Wright QC, who is the Tory MP for Kenilworth and Southam has formally ‘asked’ to join future hearings and for the attempt to prosecute Blair and his top aides to be rejected. That’s interesting because whilst Wright is a criminal law specialist and remains a member of the No.5 Chambers in Birmingham, he’s listed as officially ‘non practising’ since 2013. Even though Wright is currently UK Attorney General, what or who gives him the right to lean on this case for judicial review and deem it ‘hopeless’.
What is Jeremy Wright’s motivational interest in defending Blair. Cui bono.
More on this report from The Guardian…
The planned intervention by the attorney general comes after a judge ruled the former Labour prime minister had immunity from the attempt to bring a criminal charge against him and that pursuing a prosecution could “involve details being disclosed under the Official Secrets Act”.
The private prosecution relates to the 2003 Iraq war and seeks the trial in a British court of then prime minister Tony Blair, the foreign secretary Jack Straw, and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general at the time.
It seeks their conviction for the crime of “aggression” and is based on the damning findings of last year’s Chilcot report into the British decision to join the invasion of Iraq, under the false pretext that the Saddam Hussein regime had weapons of mass destruction.
Legal documents seen by the Guardian show the attorney general, Jeremy Wright QC, who is the Tory MP for Kenilworth and Southam, has formally asked to join future hearings and for the attempt to prosecute Blair and his top aides to be rejected.
In November 2016, a court ruled the prosecution could not go ahead. But lawyers behind the private prosecution are seeking a fresh hearing to challenge that refusal and access to legal aid funding. The attorney general’s intervention is supported by the three Labour former senior ministers.
The attorney general claims the case is hopeless, in part because the crime of aggression does not exist in English law, even though it does exist in international law. But that argument appears to be undermined in a document written by Goldsmith himself.
In his 2003 memo on the legality of the Iraq war, Goldsmith, then attorney general, appeared to concede the key point of those now seeking his prosecution. “Aggression is a crime under customary international law which automatically forms part of domestic law,” he wrote.
After the Chilcot report publication, some families of British service personnel who died in the war called for Blair to face criminal charges.
The latest attempt at a private prosecution comes in the name of Gen Abdul-Wahid Shannan ar-Ribat, former chief of staff of the Iraqi army and now living in exile, according to legal papers.
An application was made to Westminster magistrates court late last year for a summons to be issued against Blair but it was refused. The district judge, Michael Snow,said: “Implied immunity as former head of state and government ministers, therefore offence not made out … Allegations involve potential details being disclosed under the Official Secrets Act for which attorney general and director of public prosecutions consent are required.”
In their pleadings, the lawyers say: “If ever there was a case which required the actions of public officials to account for their alleged criminality, we cannot conceive of any better one than this. There is no doubt that there is significant public interest in these present proceedings and there should have been the concomitant application of the law to all decisions relating to it by the district judge. It would appear that there was not.”
They claim the judge was wrong to say because Blair was prime minister he and the former senior ministers cannot face prosecution: “It should be noted that, in any event, Tony Blair et al do not enjoy immunity from prosecution in the UK whether ‘implied’ or not…”Continue Reading →
This article (UK Attorney General Seeks To Block Tony Blair Prosecution Over Iraq War) was originally published on 21st Century Wire and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.