Tony Blair should face trial over Iraq war, says Desmond Tutu
In an article on 1 September 2012 in UK’s Observer, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel peace prize winner and hero of the anti-apartheid movement has called for Tony Blair and George Bush to be tried by the international criminal court in The Hague. He accused the former British and US leaders of lying about weapons of mass destruction and says the invasion left the world more destabilized and divided "than any other conflict in history”. Tutu added that the controversial US and UK-led action to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003 created the backdrop for the civil war in Syria and a possible wider Middle East conflict involving Iran.
"The then leaders of the United States and Great Britain," Tutu said, "fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the specter of Syria and Iran before us."
But it is Tutu's call for Blair and Bush to face justice in The Hague that is most startling. Claiming that different standards appear to be set for prosecuting African leaders and western ones, he says the death toll during and after the Iraq conflict is sufficient on its own for Blair and Bush to be tried at the ICC.
"On these grounds, alone, in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in The Hague," he says.
The court hears cases on genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. To date, 16 cases have been brought before the court but only one that of Thomas Lubanga, a rebel leader from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has been completed. He was sentenced earlier this year to 14 years' imprisonment for his part in war crimes in his home country.
Tutu pulled out of a South African conference on leadership last week because Blair, who was paid 2m rand (£150,000) for his time, was attending. It is understood that Tutu had agreed to speak without a fee.
In his article, the archbishop argues that as well as the death toll, there has been a heavy moral cost to civilization, with no gain. "Even greater costs have been exacted beyond the killing fields, in the hardened hearts and minds of members of the human family across the world
."Has the potential for terrorist attacks decreased? To what extent have we succeeded in bringing the so-called Muslim and Judeo-Christian world’s closer together, in sowing the seeds of understanding and hope?" Blair and Bush, he says, set an appalling example. "If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth?" he asks.
"If it is acceptable for leaders to take drastic action on the basis of a lie, without an acknowledgement or an apology when they are found out, what should we teach our children?"
In a statement, Blair strongly contested Tutu's views and stated that Iraq was now a more prosperous country than it had been under Saddam Hussein. Such nonsense .Blair as usual uttered some more lies.
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|William A. Cook|