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Critics respond to inquiry on UK role in Iraq War

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggests parliamentary action against former PM Tony Blair for Iraq War.

Tony Blair

Critics of Britain's role in the United States-led invasion and occupation of Iraq have spoken out following the Iraq Inquiry, which concluded the UK joined the war on "flawed intelligence". 

The report, which took seven years to prepare, and runs to some 2.6 million words, was headed by retired civil servant John Chilcot. 

"Military action in Iraq might have been necessary at some point, but in March 2003, there was no immediate threat from [then Iraq President] Saddam Hussein," Chilcot said.

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair defended his decision to partake in the invasion, saying that he took "full responsibility" for it.

Yet, Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader of Blair's Labour party, suggested that the parliament should take action against the former PM for misleading it in the lead-up to the invasion.

"It's led to a fundamental breakdown in trust in politics and in our institutions of government. The tragedy is that while the governing class got it so horrifically wrong, many of our people actually got it right," Corbyn said, referring to mass anti-war demonstrations at the time.

Corbyn also proposed a War Powers Act to provide expanded parliamentary oversight on future UK military actions. He also called for the use of drones to be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

'No significant reform'

Legal experts and human rights groups also spoke out following the report's release.

Rebecca Moosavian, a senior lecturer at Northumbria University's School of Law, said future prime ministers "will continue to exert major influence over taking the country to war" because there has been no "significant reform to the war power"  since the Iraq invasion.

The Iraq war strengthened parliamentary involvement in warfare decisions by requiring the PM to obtain approval for military action, Moosavian said.


READ MORE: Chilcot report - Tony Blair in focus ahead of launch


"However, Iraq also shows that this brake on war may be limited by factors including strong party discipline among MPs and, crucially, governmental control of the information on which parliament decides.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Amnesty International said that the UK should comply with international investigations into unlawful killings and torture carried out by British troops during the war.

"Wherever there is sufficient admissible evidence, those suspected of criminal responsibility - no matter their rank or position - must be prosecuted in fair trials, while victims and their families must receive full reparation," said Salil Shetty, the rights group's secretary general.

"The UK must also fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s preliminary examination into alleged crimes by UK nationals in Iraq from 2003 to 2008, including murder, torture and other ill-treatment."

Speaking in London on Wednesday afternoon, Blair said: "There were no lies, there was no deceit."


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