Human rights lawyer explains why Blair 'won't be prosecuted' in wake of Chilcot

Lawyer Mark Stephens has explained how Sir John Chilcot's ruling on the Iraq War will block Tony Blair from legal prosecution.

Blair's decision to go to war has been ruled to be fundamentally flawed

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Lawyer Mark Stephens has explained how Sir John Chilcot's ruling on the Iraq War will block Tony Blair from legal prosecution.

Sir John Chilcot released his report yesterday. He ruled the decision to undertake the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was wrong because it was not the "last resort" action presented to MPs and the public and Saddam Hussein “posed no imminent threat”.

Despite the serious blow to his legacy, Stephens - who has an accomplished career as a human rights lawyer - explained why Blair won't face legal action. 

 "It is of the most serious order," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "We're not only talking about the deaths of soldiers who died in combat but also those civilians in Iraq who died in their hundreds of thousands. 

"The short answer is he won't [be prosecuted]. He presided over the government which made the decision to go to war, and what Sir John Chilcot has made clear is this decision was fundamentally flawed. But it wasn't made in bad faith. 

"Because it wasn't made in bad faith, it's therefore not illegal."

Stephens explained how the war could have been justified if the reasoning behind the decision had been different. 

"You can go to war for humanitarian reasons," he added. "I always thought that was the proper basis for the Iraq War.

"If you remember how unpleasant Saddam Hussein and particularly his sons were with the population, that would have been a legitimate war. 

"But Blair wanted to be able to show there was an immediate threat - that was a mistake by him. 

"He would have found it easier to justify a humanitarian war, because the Iraqi people were clearly oppressed and of course, they [Saddam Hussein's government] was also threatening strategic assets for the UK and the United States."