The Chilcot Inquiry into Britain’s role in the invasion of Iraq has been a long time coming. The report, which examines the reasons behind the war as well as Britain’s long and disastrous occupation of Iraq, is set to be released in July. That's after nearly seven years of investigation.
If the signs so far are anything to go by, its consequences could be serious.
According to a source who spoke to Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper this week, the report will be “absolutely brutal” for former Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior officials. The source said the reputations of many important people would be badly damaged, and that it would also reveal serious mistakes were made in the aftermath of the war and the long occupation of Iraq.
Blair stands accused of using false arguments for invading Iraq in 2002 – claims which, if true, could mean he's guilty of war crimes.
At the time of the invasion of Iraq, the governments of the USA and UK justified their war by arguing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and intended to use them. Those claims later emerged to be completely false. Tony Blair has long argued that he genuinely believed Saddam had WMDs at the time but his critics say that the Bush administration were set on invading Iraq, and that Blair and other officials conspired with the Americans to fabricate a legal justification for war.
Several important figures, including Desmond Tutu and Arundhati Roy, have said Blair should stand trial at the Hague. Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader of the Blair’s Labour Party, has also spoken in support of Blair being tried for war crimes if enough evidence emerges.
Blair has since admitted that mistakes were made in the Iraq war, but hasn't indicated responsibility for anything that could be construed as a war crime.
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