London’s High Court has blocked a bid by a former chief of staff of the Iraqi army to bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair over the Iraq war.
General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat has accused Blair, while UK prime minister, of committing a “crime of aggression” by invading Iraq in 2003 to overthrow President Saddam Hussein.
The general wanted to prosecute Blair and two other key ministers at the time – foreign secretary Jack Straw and attorney general Lord Goldsmith.
His lawyers asked the High Court for permission to seek judicial review in an attempt to get the Supreme Court, now the highest court in Britain, to overturn a ruling by the House of Lords in 2006 that there is no such crime as the crime of aggression under the law of England and Wales.
Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, and Justice Ouseley dismissed the general’s application, saying there was “no prospect” of the case succeeding.
The case was brought after Westminster Magistrates’ Court refused to issue summonses last November on the grounds that the ex-ministers had immunity from legal action, and in any event the current Attorney-General, Jeremy Wright QC, would have to give consent.
The general lives in Muscat, Oman, does not possess a passport and cannot travel to the UK.
The UK was part of the coalition led by the US which invaded Iraq after US president George W Bush and Blair accused Hussein of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having links to terrorists.