Tutu calls for Blair and Bush to be tried over Iraq


ARCHBISHOP DESMOND Tutu has called for Tony Blair and George Bush to be taken to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for their role in the Iraq war.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner accused the former British and US leaders of lying about weapons of mass destruction and said the invasion of Iraq left the world more destabilised and divided “than any other conflict in history”.

He wrote in yesterday’s Observer that the US and UK-led action to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003 created the backdrop for the civil war in Syria and a possible wider Middle East conflict involving Iran.

“The then leaders of the United States and Great Britain fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us,” he wrote.

As for the call for Mr Blair and Mr Bush to face justice in The Hague, he said different standards appeared to be set for prosecuting African leaders than for western ones, and that the death toll during and after the Iraq conflict was sufficient on its own for them to face action. “On these grounds, alone, in a consistent world, those responsible should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in The Hague.”

He added that the Iraq invasion had not made the world a safer place. “Has the potential for terrorist attacks decreased? To what extent have we succeeded in bringing the so-called Muslim and Judeo-Christian worlds closer together, in sowing the seeds of understanding and hope?”

Mr Blair and Mr Bush, he wrote, set an appalling example. “If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth?” he asked.

Archbishop Tutu, a long-time critic of the Iraq war, pulled out of a South African conference on leadership last week because Mr Blair was attending.

In response, Mr Blair said in a statement: “I have a great respect for Archbishop Tutu’s fight against apartheid – where we were on the same side of the argument – but to repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence is completely wrong as every single independent analysis of the evidence has shown.

“And to say that the fact that Saddam massacred hundreds of thousands of his citizens is irrelevant to the morality of removing him is bizarre.” – (PA)