Blair faces new 'war crimes' accusation

An eminent panel of legal experts is to accuse Tony Blair of committing war crimes in Iraq in a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The panel, which includes law professors from universities in Britain, Ireland, France and Canada, will claim on Tuesday there is compelling evidence that the Prime Minister broke international law and UN treaties by invading Iraq last year.

The eight experts will recommend that the ICC launches a formal investigation into the Government's conduct - the first step towards indicting ministers for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Their dossier will add to the renewed controversy over Mr Blair's stance on Iraq. It will be published a week before Lord Hutton issues his report into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly, which examines the Prime Minister's role in the decision to name him.

The ICC has already rejected several attempts by Greek and Belgian lawyers to investigate the Government's behaviour, but in this case its lawyers have contacted the panel in advance to ask for a copy of their report.

The panel includes Guy Goodwin-Gill QC of All Souls, Oxford, Professor Christine Chinkin of LSE, Professor Upendra Baxi from Warwick University and Professor William Schabas, director of the Irish Centre of Human Rights.

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