Britain’s Iraq Inquiry

An Open Letter to Sir John Chilcot


You stated the Iraq Inquiry would not apportion blame, but if it produces evidence that this country’s invasion and occupation of Iraq was illegal, then the public deserves that the matter not be allowed to rest there.  As it is, the Inquiry’s Legal Advisor Sarah Goom has confirmed that if the Inquiry receives any ‘new evidence that criminal offences have been committed’, it would be obliged to refer that evidence to the appropriate investigating authority.

You also said the Inquiry is not ‘here to provide public sport or entertainment.’  Justified public outrage is neither, and must be fully and appropriately addressed.  You added, ‘We ask fair questions and we expect full and truthful answers.’  Given Tony Blair’s past public assertions on Iraq, the public expects great depth and persistence when you examine him, with particular and detailed attention being addressed to all relevant issues of international law.

What Mr Blair knew about the lack of weapons of mass destruction held by Iraq , and when he knew it, is central to whether the invasion of Iraq had any authority without the support of a second UN resolution.  In December 2009 he said that even had he known there were no WMD, he would still have thought it right to invade Iraq in order to remove Saddam Hussein, though he would have had to ‘deploy other arguments’.  He had tried to argue that our country was under threat from WMD.  To argue for invasion in order to effect regime change shows a willingness to flout international law.  We therefore request that the Inquiry press Mr Blair on his understanding of international law in relation to the use of force, and especially in relation to effecting ‘regime change’.

In a democracy the citizens have a right to be truthfully informed of the reasons for recourse to war.  Mr Blair must be questioned rigorously and all his evidence given in public, rather than being hidden behind a veil of ‘national security’.  The Inquiry has already demonstrated that, due to lack of post-invasion planning, organisation and funding, this country could not fulfil its obligations as an occupying force to guarantee provision of necessities such as health care.

Should the Inquiry produce evidence of illegality regarding the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq then Mr Blair, as the individual ultimately responsible for the decision to commit this country to the invasion, must be held to account.  If not, the whole nation – its citizens, its reputation and its democracy – will continue to pay a heavy price.

Faruq Ziada – Former Iraqi Ambassador

Hans-C. von Sponeck – UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (1998-2000)

Craig Murray – Former UK Ambassador and author

Sabah Al-Mukhtar – President, Arab Lawyers Association, UK

Richard Falk – Albert Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

Professor Ken Booth FBA, AcSS, FRSA – Dept of International Politics, Aberystwyth University

Dr. Eric Herring – Reader in International Politics, University of Bristol

Robert Manson – Lecturer in Law, founder of INLAP

George Farebrother – Institute for Law Accountability & Peace, World Court Project

Jo Wilding – Barrister; author Don’t Shoot the Clowns; documentary: Letter to the Prime Minister

Dr Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D., USA – International Physicians for Humanitarian Medicine

Air Commodore Alastair Mackie (Ret’d) – Vice President CND

Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (Ret’d) – Disarmament & Security Centre NZ

John Pilger – Journalist, author, documentary maker

Geoff Simons – Extensive author on Iraq, inc. They Destroyed Iraq and Called it Freedom

Nicholas Wood – Author, War Crime or Just War?

Aly Renwick – Ex-soldier, author Hidden Wounds

Lesley Docksey – Editor, Abolish War

Felicity Arbuthnot – Journalist, co-author Baghdad, Great City series

Hussein Al-Alak – Harvard International Law Review contributor

Bruce Kent – Vice President, Pax Christi

Dr Tony Kempster – Anglican Pacifist Fellowship

Dr Kate Dewes – Director Peace Foundation Disarmament and Security Centre

Sue Gilmurray – Chair, Movement for the Abolition of War

Tahrir Swift – Women Solidarity for an Independent and Unified Iraq

Michael Culver – Make Wars History

Joe Letts – Joint Leader, Human Shield Convoy to Baghdad , 2003

Brian Haw – Parliament Square Peace Campaigner

Lynda Holmes – mother of soldier and member of Military Families Against War 

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