One of Britain’s former top judges has condemned the legal advice given to Tony Blair before the Iraq war as “flawed”.
Lord Thomas Bingham pointed to “two fundamental” errors in a statement by the government’s then chief lawyer, Lord Peter Goldsmith, prior to the US-led invasion in 2003.
Lord Goldsmith said an existing UN Security Council Resolution 1441 on Iraq, agreed the year before, authorised the use of force in earlier resolutions.
But speaking at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Lord Bingham said the statement failed to recognise the lack of hard evidence suggesting Iraq was not complying with the Council’s resolutions.
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And he said the advice neglected to make clear that only the Council could authorise further action.
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Lord Bingham said: “It was not plain that Iraq had failed to comply in a manner justifying resort to force and there were no strong factual grounds or hard evidence to show that it had.