MSPs mount bid for Iraq prosecutions

Scotland on Sunday reports that a group of SNP MSPs are calling for Tony Blair to stand trial in Scotland over Iraq. It comes after Blair appeared at the Iraq Inquiry.

The Scotland on Sunday newspaper has reported that a group of Scottish National Party MSPs are calling for Tony Blair to stand trial in Scotland over his decision to invade Iraq. It comes after the former Prime Minister’s appearance before the Iraq Inquiry on Friday.

In a letter sent to Scotland’s Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini QC, SNP backbench MSP, Bill Wilson calls for her to investigate whether Blair breached international law in invading Iraq. He continued:

“and, should you find the evidence against them compelling, prosecute the former UK Prime Minister, Anthony Charles Linton Blair, and others complacent in the invasion in Iraq.”

Mr Wilson used recent findings by a committee of inquiry in support of his case. This committee, chaired by a former Dutch Supreme Court, Willibrord Davids concluded that UN Resolution 1441 did not constitute a legal mandate for launching military action. The Scotland on Sunday further reports that the Lord Advocate and Scotland’s prosecuting authority, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is now examining the case.

Mr Wilson argues that the terms Lord Advocate’s Reference No.1 0f 2000 – which concluded that, “A rule of customary international law is a rule of Scots law” – gives the Scottish authorities the power to prosecute a UK national for breach of international Law.

Wilson’s call has been supported by a further seven SNP MSPs in a motion (S3M-5525) tabled in the Scottish Parliament including Jamie Hepburn, who has previously worked for Housing and Communities Minister, Alex Neil, and Aileen Campbell who has previously worked for the SNP’s Deputy Leader, Nicola Sturgeon.

Scotland on Sunday notes that the SNP have declined to comment on whether First Minister Alex Salmond, supports the calls for legal action, however they add:

“Mr Salmond strongly supports the Chilcot Inquiry, although it would have benefited from having more legal expertise among the questioners on the panel.”

Salmond had previously joined calls for the former Prime Minister to face impeachment over his policy to Iraq. The SNP have further confirmed that at the request of Sir John Chilcot, they have submitted to the Iraq Inquiry the legal evidence that provided the basis of their call for impeachment.

Last year, the Times reported that Salmond with a group of other MPs charged the taxpayer £14,100 to assist with their failed campaign to impeach Blair. As a result, following a complaint by Labour Peer and MSP, Lord Foulkes, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards confirmed that he would investigate Salmond’s conduct and allegations that he used public funds from Parliament to launch a party political campaign.

In response, Scotland on Sunday has said:

“Labour claimed their opponents were guilty of trying to make ‘infantile political capital’ out of the Iraq issue, saying they should focus their attention on jobs and the economy.”

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