High Court Judges Defy Reason to Protect Tony Blair 121


There were a number of errors (by me) in this original posting and therefore I have decided to remove it now I have seen the judgement itself. That these errors were in large part caused by erroneous mainstream media reports is a fact, but not an excuse for my being so outraged I rushed in without checking.

In fact, the judgement does accept there is a longstanding crime of waging aggressive war as part of international law, and does not (contrary to the Guardian’s report) argue at all that the international law only came into existence recently.

It argues however that international law is only captured in UK Law when this is done specifically through an Act of Parliament. Indeed the judgement goes so far as to state:

“the clear principle that it is for Parliament to make such conduct criminal under domestic law. Parliament deliberately chose not to do so.”

This surely is problematic. The judgement states that the UK, deliberately, does not follow international law in its domestic law. So the UK is an institutionalised rogue state. Its internal arrangements allow its rulers, its armed forces and other actors to commit international crimes and flout international law with no fear of domestic repercussion as a matter of conscious choice.

It would not be beyond the wit of man to draft domestic legislation making it a crime for those acting in service of the British state to breach international law; it would not be necessary to have separate legislation enacting each piece of international law individually. Separate legislation is however possible and often done – when in the FCO I was often concerned with the enactment of treaty or other international obligations into domestic law, which is generally by secondary legislation.

When Sir Michael Wood, the FCO’s chief legal adviser, told Jack Straw it would be illegal to invade Iraq, Straw replied that there was no court that could try the case. The full significance of that did not really strike me until today. It is no accident; the UK is deliberately set up to be psychopathic entity, its elite breaking international law at will, with no fear of retribution.


121 thoughts on “High Court Judges Defy Reason to Protect Tony Blair

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  • mog

    Typo 3rd paragraph:
    It is worth noting that this crime of aggressive war related to the false pretexts and excuses on which the law was launched,

    Blair is a psycho, protected by a kakistocracy.

  • reel guid

    The Supreme Court looking after it’s founder.

    This Supreme Court is a bad joke. It’s totally unnecessary as an institution.

  • Republicofscotland

    Even your arch nemisis, Jack Straw, dodged justice…don’t you just love the fairness dished out at the highest court in the land.

    We can in reality only highlighted the flaws and duplicity.

  • Keir

    1. It was the High Court not the Supreme Court
    2. The Crime of Aggression may be available in International Law, but has not been incorporated by Parliament into English law which is a key requirement of our (unwritten) constitution
    3. Read the full judgment before you comment on it.

      • Keir

        Google Lord Neuberger and Unwritten Constitution and that will tell you all you need to know…

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        You really are a Tory, Sander.

        Dicey, who followed Bagehot’s views on the constiitution until his plotting for Parnell’s nationalism went amuck, would love you for being so.

        • sander

          How does my pointing out that we have existing constitutional documents mark me out as a Tory? That’s some leap. Should I accuse you of being a Marxist for being seemingly opposed to Tories? We could spend the entire day indulging in logical fallacies and strawman arguments.

          Or not.

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            Dicey supported the Tories in opposing Gladstone’s overtures to Irish nationalists, claiming anything that the PM did through the Commons, like supporting the nationalists with funds, would ultimately be declared uncontitutional by the courts.

            I opposed Tories because they basically claim that their politicians, civil servants, and judges are really the driving forces behind constitutional change.

            And I am a socialist who really opposes Trump because he is a reckless warmonger, now trying to provoke a war with North Korea by flying bombers over the peninsula.

          • sander

            Well, thankyou for your reply. Likewise I am opposed to warmongering for profit and political leverage. I’m sure we could both agree that Blair should be hung by the larger of his testicles until dead, not only for his illegal wars, but other adventures, such as advising the Khazak authorities on how to cover up a protester massacre.

            Sadly, for as long as our country remains a large floating bank (which shouldn’t be too much longer, if all of those exponential debt curves are anything to go by), any political party will be on a tight leash vis. reform. There is little possiblility of reform whilst the the power of the stuffed brown envelopes reigns supreme.

            I find myself leaning more and more to night-watchman anarchism. ‘Consent of the governed’ is a laughable logical error, but now they are just mocking us.

            Take care.

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            Thanks, Sander .I still didn’t mean to insult you by calling you a Tory. It’s just the backwarrds view that Britons have of some of their history.

            Like I think that Sir Robert Peel was a good PM, but he based much of what he did upon what Brougham had suggested, like repeal of the Corn Laws which ended his career as a Tory.

            You take care of yourself too.

    • nevermind

      Dear Keir. High/Supreme court what does it matter?, the UK has been part and parcel to EU law for near enough sixty years, although its lawyers, Bar to cellar, might not want to subscribe to the idea that it is overarching UK law; to argue that it has not adopted a law, but was prepared to accept its jurisdiction, is at best whimsical wriggling.
      Unless there is a movement to call the Nuremberg trials a negligible, not ground breaking event in international law, this trials conclusions are as valid here than anywhere else. Britain sat on the court bench and should be ashamed of this imbalance of inertia, to be nice to them.
      I deally they should all be fired for being incompetent and selective, not judging the whole picture, nor defending the dignity and the morals of the House of Commons.
      But I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    What else would you expect from a packed court of nine semi-retirees who get around 250,00 a year and paid trips?

    And an adverse decision against the former PM would have marred the final retirement of Lords Neubauer and Clake, and what would Castlereagh, Palmerston et al. think about it all from their graves.

    Now back to the closer war from my bunker. Just got out to stech my legs.

  • fauxductivity

    Surely best to read the judgment before commenting?

    And I am unhappy with your tone about the courts. It’s one thing to offer a criticism, saying that the HC has got it wrong. It is another to accuse HC of being “a lie, a cheat, and a disgrace”. That plays right into the hands of those – in the main, a certain kind of Brexity person – who, like the Daily Mail, accuse the HC of being an “enemy of the people”.

    I would have thought you might wish to consider toning down your criticism here.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Reminds me of when Lord Chancellor Brougham, high on drugs, told defeated parties in Chancery that there was no chance of appealing successfully to the Lords where he was also a Law Lord!

  • rob gray

    KELLOG BRIAND PACT springs to mind + also breaking the UN CHARTER .. ANOTHER CORPORATE COVER UP

  • Bryan Hemming

    Respect for the law just went down quite a few notches. If British law doesn’t recognise this, or that bit of international law, then they shouldn’t be surprised if British citizens decide it’s all a bit of a mix ‘n’ match affair. I’m not astounded or even surprised. They let the bankers get away with stealing our money, now they let Blair get away with illegal slaughter. He went to war based on lies he himself was responsible for constructing. Going to war the way he did was judged by Nuremberg to be the supreme international crime.

  • fauxductivity

    David Allen green *has* read the judgment, and his brief comments bear repeating.

    “You will read – on social media and elsewhere – that today the High Court blocked a prosecution of Tony Blair (and others) for war crimes.

    The High Court did not.

    First, the High Court was not being asked to make a decision on whether Blair should be prosecuted. That would be a decision for a criminal court – to permit a private prosecution.

    The decision today was about whether a decision not to permit such a prosecution was lawfully open to the criminal court. The High Court held that it was not open to a criminal court to give that permission. So: one step away from a decision to allow any prosecution.

    Second, the High Court was bound by a 2006 decision of the House of Lords (the predecessor to the current Supreme Court). So: it was in 2006 that the decision was made that the waging of aggressive war was not a domestic crime, and not today. All the High Court did today was follow a decision more than ten years’ old.

    Today the High Court made neither a decision to not prosecute for war crimes nor new law. The High Court instead said somebody else could not make the decision, and did so by applying old law.”

    http://jackofkent.com/2017/07/what-the-high-court-did-not-do-today-about-tony-blair-and-war-crimes/

    So it looks like stare decisis – the age-old principle of following a decision of a higher court.

    Like it or not, that what HC has done – and it would take Supreme Court to depart from it.

    • craig Post author

      Nothing David Allen Green has written has ever been worth reading. A pompous Blairite fossil.

      • Mr Mephistopheles

        In this case it’s a matter of non quis sed quid, though. His legal analysis is spot on.

      • fauxductivity

        I beg to differ. I find his arguments, as a lawyer, to be rigorous.

        And he’s more often right than wrong.

        Whether he’s pompous, I leave others to judge.

      • Bobm

        There is a delicious irony in this passage:

        “Our starting point: the crime of aggression under international law.
        9.
        It is not disputed by the Attorney General that it is well established that there is a crime of aggression under international law of sufficient certainty for a prosecution to be brought against those who commit such a crime. However, the issue before us is
        whether there is such a crime under the law of England and Wales so that a prosecution can be brought before the courts of England and Wales.
        10.
        We therefore turn to examine that question for, if there is no such crime, it would be unfair to the Interested Parties and inapposite for us to examine the contention that there was a case to answer. ”

        As a piece of legal analysis para 10 is surely correct; it would be contrary to basic principles for the court to address an issue over which the courts have no jurisdiction, and contrary to natural justice absent representation of the “Interested Parties”.

        However, shortly after MPs had voted in November not to investigate Blair, Chris Lamb belatedly received this, that is well worth a careful read:

        https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/341970/response/907632/attach/html/3/FOI323723%20Reply.pdf.html

        It says that the cabinet office has no record of the basis upon which TB came to his “unequivocal view” that Saddam was in material breach.

  • reel guid

    If Blair had launched an aggressive war against another European state on the pretext of falsified intelligence that the other state had WMD and was going to use them, he would have been at The Hague long ago.

    But because the country on which he unleashed aggressive war on the pretext of falsified intelligence is a Middle Eastern one, he is safe from prosecution. In fact, lives in the lap of luxury and makes inordinate amounts of money in shady international deals whilst safe from prosecution.

    If the crime of waging aggressive war in international law is not applied fairly and consistently then there is no justification for having it at all. After all, the US and the UK states sat in judgement on Nazis for crimes against humanity in 1946, and then proceeded to serially commit crimes against humanity around the world in subsequent decades.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    It’s a legal can of worms, though. The Nuremburg trials were conducted by (or as) the International Military Tribunal, put together for that specific purpose. It concluded that:

    War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole…. Article 39 of the United Nations Charter provides that the UN Security Council shall determine the existence of any act of aggression and “shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

    Enter the ICC, taking responsibility for prosecuting aggression, at this point. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court refers to the crime of aggression as one of the “most serious crimes of concern to the international community”, and provides that the crime falls within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, the Rome Statute stipulates that the ICC may not exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression until such time as the states parties agree on a definition of the crime and set out the conditions under which it may be prosecuted.

    Which didn’t happen until 2016, with, appropriately enough, Palestine being the thirtieth country to ratify the amendments to the Statute of Rome which would allow the ICC to prosecute aggression.
    https://asp.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/asp/press%20releases/Pages/PR1225.aspx

    While it may have been widely recognised as criminal, there existed no formal prosecutable definition of the crime until then. And, since even this is non-retroactive, and since the status of aggression in English law is only that of its being implicit in international law (and undefined until 2016) it was very easy to let Blair off the hook. Nice try, but no cigar, or so I read it.

    Assuming Blair hasn’t yet shredded his charities’ files, prior to gathering them all into a not-for-profit (not registered as a charity either) shell company with everything else he does) I continue to think that these would be a much more fertile field of investigation.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      This comment responded to Craig’s original posting. The Guardian (and the BBC) gloss over the details, but I personally would have to concede that while the crime was recognised by the UK, it was undefined until the Statute of Rome review. and that definition unratified until last year.

      I wonder if it would be possible for a country with aggression on its statute book to grab the grinning, gesticulating conman when he flies in to advise it on governance? Malaysia found him guilty in absentia, I believe.

  • frankywiggles

    The ‘lessons’ the public was assured would be learned from Iraq were rapidly unlearned in the desperation to get into Libya and syria. I’m sure this judgement is as much about protecting the perpetrators of future crimes as protecting Bliar. The British establishment wants an absolutely free hand and legal immunity to invade / inflict mass murder and chaos wherever it might choose in future. (Or, rather, wherever Washington might choose).

    • J

      The lessons have been learned. I’ve probably missed a few so feel free to add:

      1) Issue a “red line” ultimatum to the enemy while planning the appearance of him having crossed the line through ones own agencies.

      2) Be sure to accuse the enemy of exactly what you are doing. It’s harder for the enemy to accuse you after you’ve already accused him of the same thing.

      3) If media clips of enemy atrocity do not already exist, be sure to invent them as near to location (and as deniably) as possible.

      4) Mainstream media consensus is worth investing in. However false, it works. Until it doesn’t.

      5) Lie boldly and often about the enemy. When discovered, minimise any retraction. Most will never notice, meanwhile, an adverse and long term emotional response to the enemy is cemented. Be sure to use vague and emotive terms against your enemy at all times and switch these terms regularly to maintain interest and outrage.

      6) Continue to lie boldly even when your lies are uncovered and also refer to old lies as corroborative and established truth. Eventually a sizeable proportion of the population will prefer to believe the lies.

      7) Continue to switch the stated reasons for aggression regularly and refer to previous lies. This creates a broad field of associations none of which need hold up individually but taken cumulatively create the impression of established truth.

      8) Keep your population sedated and confused with regular invitations to be outraged at the enemy and anything resembling the enemy, even if you have to make it up.

      9) Insist that no laws have been broken, and many if not most will believe it for long enough that nobody need face justice for any crimes, even those as grave as aggressive war.

      10) Ensure that direct financial ties to beneficiaries of aggressive wars are minimised wherever possible. Reap the rewards after term of office through donations to your charitable organisations or through the corporate lecture circuit. Insist on a minimum of $150,000, preferably $250,000 per lecture to maintain interest and product value.

    • J

      11) Maintain close links with ostensible enemies who might be able to arrange timely interventions for internal politics should the various strategies for aggressive war be neutralised or become politically disadvantageous. Have press and media strategy ready for maximum distraction and outrage.

      12) Bury any damaging reports or inquiries detailing any of these activities under the banner of national security.

      • frankywiggles

        Haha, excellent. Certain lessons are always remembered. I’d add just one more:

        13) Uncle Sam must always be represented as acting selflessly in the world’s best interests, and we must always help him take action against the countries that disobey, sorry I mean bully him.

  • Manda

    “It is no accident; the UK is deliberately set up to be psychopathic entity, its elite breaking international law at will, with no fear of retribution.”

    The simple minded amongst us have observed this to be the case for many years. UK is indeed a rogue state.

    • Mr Mephistopheles

      The UK has never had any respect for the concept of international law. Hell, the UK doesn’t even give a shit about it’s own domestic situation; Scots law is routinely ignored or consciously disregarded by Westminster.

      The UK has not only signed, but has ratified, so many international treaties and covenants which plainly state that UK policy is illegal as a matter of course. This can be contrasted with the situation in the U.S, wherein the Americans refuse to sign any treaty with which they profoundly disagree – morality left aside. This increases the UK’s hypocrisy tenfold: They take a proactive step to state ‘yes, we believe in these values and will commit ourselves to seeing them realised’, then they profoundly, wilfully and actively ignore them.
      Without an international court with the power to enforce the international obligations which the UK has ascribed to, international law is naught but sound and fury signifying nothing. Really, it’s the fact that the ECJ actually has teeth which makes the EU so unpalatable to Little Englanders: While an EU member state, they actually have to live up to at least some of their obligations under international law.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    And so am I, as they continue to go along with A,V. Dicey’s view of the Law of the Constitution which claimed that only the UK parliament could seriously change it, absurd then and even more absurd now.

    The Commons is not sovereign now, as Blair showed by going along in the UNSC to war with the US claim that Saddam had WMD.

    Any independent Supreme Court should rule that park]lamentary custom has allowed the PM to become boss.

    It’s what’s wrong with Tory historiography which the courts uphold doggedly.

    NOW back to my basement bunker.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Craig,

    The decision does not surprise me.

    There is a perennial problem with the applicability of International Law vis-a-vis Domestic Law. In the real world the big powers exempt themselves from the law and the norms of International Law to pursue whatever rouge conduct they may be in pursuit of in any given instance. In the case of weak Third World countries International Law is invariably invoked as the ‘gold standard’ which all must abide by.

    In his book ‘The politics of the Judiciary’ Professor J.A.G. Griffiths summed things up quite accurately about how the courts in the UK operated and he is as relevant today as when he first wrote his book.

    It is indeed – the politics of the judiciary – at work in this decision.

  • Michael McNulty

    If they could have been judged by their buddies Al Capone and the Krays would have been above prosecution too, but I think the only court that can really clear Blair is The Hague. That Iraqi general should try his luck in Holland as the home of The Hague, or even Spain because I doubt the Spanish can forget it was PM Blair who refused to hand over Pinochet. Though neither country could force his arrest it would be something else to hear he’d been found answerable to international war crimes by a European court.

  • David Sketchley

    Surely now with the UK unwilling to try Blair this can now be taken to the ICC?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ David Sketchley July 31, 2017 at 15:02
      Whoops! Great minds think alike!!

  • Paul Barbara

    If domestic attempts to get the swine tried in the UK have been exhausted, it should be possible to submit the case to the International Court, where surely International Law will be held to be binding?

    • Ba'al Zevul

      As has been stated before, the ICC can’t act retrospectively to the 2016 completion of ratification of the Rome Statute. Blair’s fallen through a loophole and landed on his feet. For now.

      • Manda

        The ICC is, in my view, an instrument of the current ‘western empire’.
        I posted a link to this previously. John Laughland discussing trials of state leaders. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4_J-ZxYnMw
        “When you look at the history of these trials, you see that all of them, without exception, are rigged.”
        Laughland says the ICC neglected to put the crime of aggression under its remit and Laughland argues in fact ICC actively assists them…

        • Ba'al Zevul

          The ICC is, in my view, an instrument of the current ‘western empire’.

          Which makes its legitimacy more doubtful than if it were, say, an instrument of the African Union?

          I mean, at least the ‘current western empire’ bothered to set something up at all…

  • Christopher Neill

    I am seriously worried by the implications of this, not least in view of the Human Rights Act being under threat. I do not want to live under a rogue state.

  • kashmiri

    Incorrect, Craig. International law does apply and is regularly followed in the UK even without an act of Parliament. Vide for example most of the corps of the customary international law. However, in order to prosecute someone for a crime of “violating international law”, such an act of violation must be itself recognised as a crime under domestic laws. Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege.

    I will also not go into details of what you, the Guardian and the court understand by “international law”, but I feel the three each means a slightly different concept.

  • Roderick Russell

    I am afraid that concepts such as “the rule of law” and “judicial independence” are a little bit of a myth put around by lawyers. Yes, these concepts are followed most of the time, but not in cases where the establishment is pulling the other way.

  • Garry Hope

    Does this mean thatTony Blair et al are really just terrorists who commited acts of terrorism ?

  • J Galt

    Only losers ever commit the crime of “waging aggressive war”.

    Even at Nuremburg the hypocrisy was rank with the USSR having brutally invaded Finland, the Baltic States and Poland standing in judgement over the Germans for having committed exactly the same crimes!

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