Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Legality of a War

The Guardian is unhappy that a commission appointed by its own government to look into how the UK went to war in Iraq (the Chilcot inquiry) may not look carefully enough at the legal aspects.
There have been repeated calls from influential legal and judicial figures for an investigation into whether the invasion of Iraq was illegal, including the former senior law lord Lord Bingham, who last year reiterated that it was "a serious violation of international law".

International law, you see, is above the sovereign decisions of a democratically elected government.
"Some of the debates around the legality of the war are quite sophisticated – it is not all clear-cut," the senior legal figure said. "It's going to be very difficult to deal with someone like Blair without a panel experienced in cross-examination."

And the legal experts know better than the citizens and their elected representatives.


t34zakat said...

Yes, please save us from ‘experts’, especially experts like Lord Bingham, who have trouble differentiating between landmines/ cluster bombs on one hand and drones on the other.

Given the haziness of international law, I’m not sure that an opinion given by a selected panel in the UK would mean anything other than political point scoring.

Undoubtedly I’m biased towards a panel based on historians describing what happened over a group of lawyers arguing a poorly thought out compendium of custom and conventions created between sovereign states. But turning everything into a legal problem, in a world without real representation, seems extraordinarily dangerous.

I’m glad Chilcot made it clear at the hearing that this isn’t a legal inquiry; he isn’t trying to have it both ways. And the panel talked to the families of dead soldiers privately. Too often we seem to be getting the equivalent of victim impact statements, before the facts have been sorted out.

AKUS said...

As usual, what starts with the Jews comes back to haunt the instigators. After starting a process of "lawfare" (war using legalities) against Israeli figures like Arik Sharon, or Barak and others, the British are now turning on their own former Prime Minister using the same tactics.

Will they never learn?

And of course, who but the vile Guardian, so sure that they are the true arbiters of decency in the world, would be leading the hue and cry?

Empress Trudy said...

It seems that Europe has embraced a political culture where every former administration is dragged into the dock for one thing or another in an exercise of political purging and purity. Everywhere else where political societies embrace this they more or less all collapsed into fascism and tyranny. Or worse. So good luck with that.