CND today condemned the government decision to hold the long-promised Inquiry into the Iraq war in private. CND continues to call for a comprehensive, open and independent Inquiry into all factors leading up to and during the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Kate Hudson, CND Chair, said: “The illegality of the war on Iraq, and the crimes committed there, cannot be swept under the carpet. Six years do not erase the guilt of those responsible for breaking international law and bringing about the deaths of countless thousands of innocent civilians and 179 British troops. Mr Brown has stated that the Inquiry will not aim to ‘apportion blame’. But it is not a question of blame – it is a question of justice. This will be a running sore, not only in British politics, but in international relations, until the truth comes out and those that are guilty are put on trial.’
Prior to the invasion, CND took extensive legal steps to challenge the government’s excuse for attacking Iraq. In December 2002, it took the government to court to ask for an advisory opinion on the legality of using UNSC Resolution 1441 as a pretext for war. This was argued by Rabinder Singh QC and Charlotte Kilroy acting for CND. Three judges ruled that they could not give an opinion as they had no jurisdiction on this aspect of international law and that it may be ‘damaging to the public interest in the field of international relations, national security or defence’.
The same CND legal team also produced an opinion on the Attorney General’s use of Resolutions 678, 687 and 1441 to authorise the war, both on the eve of the war and after it became clear that weapons of mass destruction were not being found in Iraq. (note 4 below)Consistent government refusal to agree to a Public Inquiry and Jack Straw’s veto of the release of the crucial Cabinet meetings of March 13th and 17th 2003, suggest that the government knew it was breaking international law in attacking Iraq and went ahead anyway.