• Robert Spicer

Iraq War: contemporary judicial comments

In a speech to the Bar Council in November 2006, Lord Steyn put forward the following views:

  • President Bush was guilty of high crimes under international law. Blair backed Bush, however lawless and outrageous the means adopted.

  • Members of the British government who were consciously involved in the decision to invade Iraq were subject to the universal criminal jurisdiction of international law.

  • The Attorney-General’s advice of March 2003 had paved the way for a disastrous war. It had been a black day for the rule of law.

  • Examples of illegality were the Guantanamo prison camp, secret CIA prison camps, CIA extraordinary rendition flights of prisoners and the invasion of Iraq.

  • The Bush administration had set out to undermine international institutions and refashion international law.

  • The record of British troops in Iraq was far from unblemished.

  • Long after the Prime Minister and his Cabinet had gone, the UK would pay the price for an abdication by our government of independent responsibility in foreign affairs and for playing a part with the Bush administration in undermining the international rule of law.

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