Court studies Blair 'war crimes' claim

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The Independent Online

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court are considering a request by an international body of lawyers to try the Prime Minister for alleged war crimes during the invasion of Iraq.

A report alleging illegal deployment of cluster bombs and weapons using depleted uranium was handed to Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the court's chief prosecutor in The Hague, yesterday. He will decide whether to begin a formal investigation which could include questioning of Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, and Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence.

If he concludes that a prosecution has a "reasonable prospect of success", the case will go before the pre-trial chamber of the court, which has the power to try individuals and governments for war crimes. No case has been made against the US administration because America has not signed the treaty that established the court.

The report was written by eight international lawyers after a "war crimes inquiry" in London last November heard evidence from eye-witnesses and expert witnesses and leading counsel.

The panel concluded there was enough evidence for the prosecutor to investigate members of the Government for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes during the conflict and occupation.

They said that he should investigate the use of cluster bombs in urban areas, and whether attacks had been launched on non-military targets.They also want the prosecutor to look into attacks on media targets and whether weapons were used which caused excessive loss of life or injury to civilians.

* Some of the families of British terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo Bay are being helped by a new human rights body to seek justice for their loved ones. The Guantanamo Human Rights Commission was launched by the actors Corin and Vanessa Redgrave yesterday to unite the families and lawyers of prisoners from across Europe.