Troops' families demand public inquiry into war

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The Independent Online

The parents of British troops killed in Iraq are to demand that Tony Blair orders a public inquiry into the war or face legal action in the courts.

The parents of British troops killed in Iraq are to demand that Tony Blair orders a public inquiry into the war or face legal action in the courts.

Six families will go to Downing Street on Tuesday to call for an independent inquiry into the legality of the war, after it emerged last week that the Attorney General warned the UK could lose in court if it failed to win the United Nations' approval.

The families will hand in a legal notice to Mr Blair that warns they will petition the High Court for a full judicial review into the legality of the invasion if he refuses to set up an inquiry. The parents, who are being advised by human rights lawyers and supported by the Stop the War coalition, are led by Reg Keys and Rose Gentle, who are standing in the election against Mr Blair and Adam Ingram, the Armed Forces minister, respectively.

Their claim is one in a series of potentially embarrassing legal developments facing the Government following last week's publication of Lord Goldsmith's second legal opinion on the lawfulness of the war. The Independent on Sunday has learnt that a complaint of misconduct against Lord Goldsmith is expected to be made to the Bar Council, the ruling body for barristers in England and Wales.

This week, two groups lawyers andexperts are to send the 13-page legal opinion to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, claiming it substantiates their claims that the UK committed war crimes in Iraq. A third complaint will be made by the families accusing the Government of war crimes. The Bar Council complaint follows a similar allegation made last month by Clare Short, the former international development secretary, that Lord Goldsmith was guilty of "inadequate professional services".

PeaceRights, run by legal academics at Warwick University, was told by the ICC's chief prosecutor in December that their case was "one of the most significant" he had seen. They allege that Britain used cluster munitions in civilian areas, put civilians at risk by targeting power stations, hit water supplies and hospitals, and used radioactive depleted uranium shells.