Iraq War families crowdfund costs to sue Tony Blair after Chilcot report

The Iraq War Families Campaign Group raised more than half its initial target of £50,000 within the first 12 hours of the appeal's launch, helping the families plan for legal action

Relatives of British soldiers killed in the Iraq war have launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise funds towards legal action against Tony Blair for his role in the war.

The Iraq Families War Campaign Group (IWFCG) aims to raise £150,000 to pay for a legal assessment of the 2.6million word report, determining whether the families are able to pursue private prosecution of Mr Blair.

The Chilcot report, released earlier this month, was damning of the former prime minister and other leading politicians of the time, but fell short of stating whether those responsible for the Iraq invasion had acted unlawfully.

Parents of the soldiers killed said they were “sickened to their stomachs”, however, to learn that Mr Blair was indemnified under Cabinet Office rules – meaning Mr Blair is covered for all court costs in relation to allegations that he abused his power to invade Iraq.

The Crowd Justice appeal is led by Reg Keys and Roger Bacon, two fathers whose sons Lance Corporal Tom Keys and Major Matthew Bacon were killed along with 177 other British service personnel.

Mr Keys said: “It is very, very disappointing if Tony Blair is indemnified against any financial punishment. It is nauseous to think he will have the taxpayer fund him while we are trying to raise funds to sue him.”

The IWFCG said they had launched their appeal “to seek justice where there has been none”.

In a statement on the appeal website, the group said: “The long-awaited Iraq Inquiry (Chilcot) Report has confirmed that there were serious failings in the lead-up to, planning and conduct of the War, which led to so many unnecessary deaths.”

“Our armed forces must never again be so callously sacrificed by political ambition and the irresponsibility and failings of Government and Whitehall.”

“Those responsible should be held to account. Now it is down to us, the families, to ensure that justice is done.”

Just 12 hours after its launch on Tuesday, the appeal had raised almost half its initial target of £50,000, which Mr Keys described as “humbling”.

He said: "I hope that we will continue to raise our full amount just as fast... Sir John Chilcot’s findings need to be acted upon – and so we thank [the British public] for their massive help.”

Sir John Chilcot’s report concluded that Mr Blair had overstated the case for military action in March 2003 as there was “no imminent threat” posed by Saddam Hussein and it was not the “last resort”.

Mr Blair insisted he had acted in “good faith” in launching the invasion.

Matthew Jury, the lawyer representing the families, said: “The report told us what went wrong and who was responsible, but it was not a court of law. If they can, the families are determined to hold those individuals to account by bringing them to trial to answer for their actions,” he said.

“Not just for them or their loved ones but to ensure that never again will our politicians act with such impunity in taking our country into an unjust war with such tragic consequences.”

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