High Court blocks prosecution against Tony Blair over Iraq war

Posted On: 
31st July 2017

The High Court has blocked a bid by a former Iraqi army chief of staff to bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair.

The general sought the prosecution of Tony Blair over the invasion of Iraq in 2003

General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat sought to pursue the former prime minister over a 'crime of aggression', in relation to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He was also trying to prosecute former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and ex-Attorney General Lord Goldsmith.

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But General al Rabbat's attempt failed after the court ruled that no such crime exists in England and Wales, and his case had “no prospect” of succeeding.

The appeal to the High Court followed a decision by Westminster Magistrates' Court last year to reject his bid.

The general then sought a judicial review to get the Supreme Court – the highest court in the land –  to overturn the 2006 House of Lords ruling that there is no such offence as the 'crime of aggression' in the UK.

But Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, and Mr Justice Ouseley dismissed the case as having "no prospect" of succeeding.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC had earlier argued that the case was “hopeless”, and his spokesperson added today that it was the role of “Parliament, and not the courts, to create new criminal offences”.

“This principle was upheld when the House of Lords ruled in 2006 that the 'crime of aggression' does not exist in English law," the spokesperson said.

"In this legal challenge, we argued that this remains the case today and the courts agreed."