Blair should face war crimes trial over Iraq, says Desmond Tutu

 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu today brands Tony Blair and George Bush war criminals and calls for both former leaders to be hauled before an international court.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner said the former British prime minister and American president should be punished for leading the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Archbishop, a long-time critic of Mr Blair, believes they committed crimes of aggression.

In an article in today's Observer, he writes: "Those responsible 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 invasion of Iraq had left the world more divided that "any other conflict in history" and was the precursor for troubles in the Middle East and in Syria. Archbishop Tutu adds: "The then leaders of the US and Great Britain 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 spectre of Syria and Iran before us."

He accuses the former British and US leaders of lying about weapons of mass destruction and says the invasion left the world more destabilised and divided "than any other conflict in history", adding: "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."

A spokesman for Archbishop Tutu, Roger Friedman, said: "The Archbishop is of the view that Mr Blair's decision to support the US military invasion of Iraq, on the basis of unproven allegations of the existence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, was morally indefensible."

A spokesman for Mr Blair passed off the criticism as "part of a healthy democracy".

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