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Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Nobel Winner Calls For Ex-U.S., U.K. Leaders to be Tried For Iraq War
Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Sunday urged that former U.S. President George W. Bush and ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair be tried before an international court for successfully advocating for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, largely on the false grounds the country possessed weapons of mass destruction, the Associated Press reported.
In a commentary for the London Observer newspaper, the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner said Blair and Bush must "answer for their actions."
The former leaders were at the front of primarily Western calls for an attack on Iraq. They argued that then-dictator Saddam Hussein possessed unconventional weapons that might be used in an assault. No active WMD arsenals or production facilities were found in Iraq following the invasion.
The conflict "has destabilized and polarized the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history," wrote Tutu.
"Those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in [the International Criminal Court at ] the Hague," said the retired head of South Africa's Anglican Church.
The court at present is not authorized to open cases involving crimes of aggression, which is presumably what a case against Bush and Blair would fall under, according to AP.
Blair dismissed Tutu's characterization of the prosecution of the war. "To repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence is completely wrong as every single independent analysis of the evidence has shown. And to say that the fact that Saddam massacred hundreds of thousands of his citizens is irrelevant to the morality of removing him is bizarre," the former British leader asserted.
An independent expert panel in the United Kingdom for the past two years has probed the Blair administration's actions before and during the war. A report of its findings has yet to be issued. Two earlier U.K. inquiries into specific areas of the Iraq war ruled the Blair administration had not behaved inappropriately.
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