Change to Scots law could put Tony Blair on trial over invasion of Iraq

Margo MacDonald says changes to Scots law could see Tony Blair indicted over the invasion of Iraq
Margo MacDonald says changes to Scots law could see Tony Blair indicted over the invasion of Iraq
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MOVES to see Tony Blair put on trial in Scotland over the war in Iraq have been launched by Independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald.

She claims the Scottish Parliament can make a minor change to existing Scots law to pave the way for the former Prime Minister to be indicted here.

Last weekend, Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for Tony Blair and George Bush to be taken to the International Criminal Court in The Hague over the 2003 invasion.

He accused them of lying about weapons of mass 
destruction and said the war left the world more destabilised and divided “than any other conflict in history”.

The archbishop said different standards appeared to be set for prosecuting African leaders than western ones, and that the death toll during and after the Iraq conflict was sufficient on its own for Mr Blair and Mr Bush to face action.

Now Ms MacDonald says Scotland can make sure Mr Blair has to answer for his role by taking action here. She has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling on the Scottish Government to introduce “a simple amendment making illegal the waging of aggressive war with the intention of regime change so that Tony Blair could be brought to trial in Scotland”.

It gained early support from several SNP MSPs, including Edinburgh South’s Jim Eadie and Edinburgh Pentlands’ Gordon MacDonald.

Ms MacDonald said what was needed was an amendment to the International Criminal Court (Scotland) Act 2001 or a short Bill to import the ICC’s definition of 
“aggression” into Scots law.

She said: “It’s not a gimmick, it’s absolutely real.

“Scots law has incorporated the international criminal law and so therefore we have the ability to try people accused of waging illegal war.”

First Minister Alex Salmond – who attempted to impeach Mr Blair in 2004 over the Iraq war – reacted cautiously to Ms MacDonald’s move.

He said: “I fully understand the sentiment because I think that Tony Blair misled this country into an illegal war, and the consequences of that we are going to feel for generations to come. In terms of the interpretation of Scots law, that’s a matter for law officers.”

A spokesman for Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the SNP government shared Archbishop Tutu’s view that the war in Iraq was illegal.

But he added: “The UK Government has until 2017 to decide whether to ratify the amendments agreed under the Rome Statute in relation to the crime of aggression.

“We understand that action to legislate would likely fall outwith competence of the Scottish Parliament.”