The former chief of staff of Saddam Hussein’s army filled a lawsuit against Tony Blair.
Mr Blair faces being taken to court in a private prosecution charging him with telling lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in order to take Britain into an illegal war.
The litigants argue that Mr Blair is guilty of the crime of ‘aggression’ — or the illegal invasion of another country. This is the most serious crime anyone can commit under international law.
It was defined as such in the Nuremberg Military Tribunal into Nazi war crimes in 1946 when the chief prosecutor, Justice Robert H. Jackson, declared that the initiation of a war of aggression ‘is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole’.
The case is being brought by the former chief of staff of Saddam Hussein’s army, General Abdul-Wahid Shannan ar-Ribat. He is seeking a judicial review of a district judge’s decision last November that Blair had ‘immunity’ from criminal prosecution.
However, General ar-Ribat, who lives in exile, is by no means a vexatious litigant.
Many respected observers are convinced that he is absolutely right, and Mr Blair has serious charges to answer.
Some years ago, one of our most eminent soldiers, General Sir Michael Rose, called for the impeachment of Blair.
More recently, Hans Blix, chief weapons inspector for the UN before the Iraq invasion, told me Blair lied in order to take Britain into an illegal war.
The inspection team’s advice at the time was that it was likely Saddam Hussein had terminated his WMD programme some years before.
Last year’s Chilcot report, while hesitating to reach a judgment, raised serious questions about Blair’s conduct concerning the path to war.
Mr Blair, naturally, insists he acted in good faith based on the intelligence available to him at the time.