Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair could potentially still face some form of prosecution for his role in the Iraq War, although it remains incredibly unlikely that such a scenario will occur in reality.
Earlier in the week it was widely reported that the International Criminal Court had already ruled out prosecuting Blair, however Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the ICC has now clarified the court’s position.
According to the Times, Bensouda says that the ICC can investigate anyone accused of war crimes.
However for Blair to be prosecuted, there would have to be hard evidence that Blair knew about, and approved, any war crimes that took place on the ground in Iraq. The ICC would only be able to prosecute Blair if Britain refused to investigate such allegations.
So there is a possibility, albeit incredibly slim, that Blair may face prosecution. Despite this, a high ranked QC has suggested that it would be a “legal impossibility” to do so.
Despite the belief that there is some means for Blair to be prosecuted for war crimes, Geoffrey Robertson, a former United Nations appeal judge says that it is impossible that it will happen.
“This hypothetical, however engaging for television, is a legal impossibility. We need to concentrate on how the law should be changed to ensure that future leaders who wage wars of aggression can be brought to account,” Robertson wrote in the Guardian on Tuesday.
Even though it seems highly unlikely that Blair will be prosecuted, protestors have gathered outside the former Labour leader’s house on Wednesday to demand his trial.
179 British troops died during the 2003 invasion in Iraq and since then, 251,000 combatants and civilians in total have been killed in the country, according to the database The Iraq Body Count.
A range of politicians, including current Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and former SNP chief Alex Salmond have already hinted that their response to the much anticipated Chilcot Report will be to call for Blair’s prosecution for war crimes. The families of many of those who died during the war have also called for Blair to be prosecuted.
“I just think it was all based on lies. I think everything that comes out of that man’s mouth has been a lie regarding Iraq. I think the people who lied should be held to account for what they have done,” said Karen Thornton, the mother of Lee Thornton who was killed in 2006, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier on Wednesday, according to the Daily Telegraph.
When asked what that would mean, she said: “Charged with war crimes. They are responsible for the deaths of so many people.”
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