The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
War crimes suit filed against Blair

Brussels, July 29: Tony Blair was accused yesterday of “crimes against humanity” in a lawsuit lodged at the International Criminal Court in The Hague by Greek lawyers.

The Athens Bar Association filed 22 charges against the Prime Minister and senior cabinet members, alleging that they invaded a sovereign country on a dubious pretext.

“The repeated, blatant violations by the US and Britain of the stipulations of the four 1949 Geneva conventions, the 1954 Convention of The Hague as well as of the International Criminal Court’s charter constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said the group. The case is based on press clippings and news reports, many from Greece’s anti-American media.

British foreign secretary Jack Straw and defence secretary Geoff Hoon were among those named, but the Bush administration was spared because America has refused to sign up to the ICC.

Washington fears the court could degenerate into a political circus and subject US officials to constant harassment.

Stephen Jakobi, the president of Fair Trials Abroad, said the Athens Bar was playing into the hands of those who wished to stop the ICC gaining credibility before it had prosecuted its first case. “People with a political axe to grind can do great damage to this institution. It reminds me of the cases in the Belgian courts against (President George W) Bush and (the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon where every bunch of crazies tried to take advantage,” he said.

The case is highly unlikely to reach court since it can act only in cases where national courts are unable or unwilling to pursue abuses. The ICC already has more than 500 complaints to review, at least 100 involving the war in Iraq. There is no evidence that Blair deliberately targeted civilians in Iraq, regarded as the most plausible trigger for a war crimes prosecution.

Email This Page