International Criminal Court envisions prosecuting Bush & Blair


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Court 'can envisage' Blair prosecution
By Gethin Chamberlain, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 11:20pm GMT 17/03/2007

Tony Blair faces the prospect of an International Criminal Court investigation 
for alleged coalition war crimes in Iraq.

The court's chief prosecutor told The Sunday Telegraph that he would be willing 
to launch an inquiry and could envisage a scenario in which the Prime Minister 
and American President George W Bush could one day face charges at The Hague.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo urged Arab countries, particularly Iraq, to sign up to the 
court to enable allegations against the West to be pursued. Iraq's ambassador to
the United Nations said that his country was actively considering signing up.


America has refused to accept the court's jurisdiction and is unlikely to hand 
over any of its citizens to face trial. However, Britain has signed up and the 
Government has indicated its willingness to tackle accusations of war crimes 
against a number of British soldiers.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo said it was frustrating that the court was viewed in the Arab 
world as biased in favour of the West. Asked whether he could envisage a 
situation in which Mr Blair and Mr Bush found themselves in the dock answering 
charges of war crimes in Iraq, he replied: "Of course, that could be a 
possibilityu2026 whatever country joins the court can know that whoever commits
a crime in their country could be prosecuted by me."

Human rights lawyers remain sceptical about whether charges will ever be 

Some Muslim countries have criticised what they claim is the court's reluctance 
to address offences committed by western governments.

Sudan, which has been investigated over its role in the killing of civilians in 
Darfur, has called for the court to investigate coalition actions in Iraq, while
Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's former prime minister, has announced plans to set 
up an alternative war crimes tribunal to hear complaints against countries 
including Britain, Israel and America.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo said that, while he was sympathetic to the views of Arab 
countries, the answer was for them to get involved in the legal process.

The court is restricted in what it can investigate. The UN Security Council can 
ask it to act - as in the case of Darfur - or the court can launch an 
investigation if it receives a complaint from a state which is party to the Rome
agreement that established it. It can also look into alleged offences carried 
out by, or on the territory of, a party to the agreement.

Jordan has signed up and Afghanistan is a signatory, though Sudan is not. Days 
before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussein approached lawyers in 
Britain about signing up but was overtaken by events. Had he succeeded, the 
actions of the US in Iraq would fall within the court's jurisdiction.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo said it was still possible for an investigation to be launched 
into coalition actions in Iraq if that country signed up.

Hamid al-Bayati, Iraq's ambassador to the UN, said Iraq was actively considering

The court is currently prosecuting cases against the Lords Resistance Army in 
Uganda, a militia leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a number of 
individuals alleged to have been involved in the conflict in Darfur.

Information appearing on is the copyright of Telegraph Media 
Group Limited

Escaping the Matrix website
cyberjournal website     
Community Democracy Framework:
subscribe cyberjournal list        mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives