The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today welcomed the decision of the Information Tribunal to uphold the order to release the minutes of the crucial Cabinet meetings of March 13th and 17th 2003, which considered the legality of the Iraq war, then in the final days of planning.
CND had taken extensive legal steps to challenge the Government’s legal excuse for attacking Iraq, prior to the invasion. The Cabinet minutes may now show that then-Attorney General Lord Goldsmith was initially in agreement with CND’s position, that UN Security Council Resolution 1441 was not sufficient to make an attack on Iraq legal.
In December 2002, CND took the government to court to ask for an advisory opinion on the legality of using Resolution 1441 as a pretext for war. This was, comprehensively argued by Rabinder Singh, QC and Charlotte Kilroy, acting for CND. The three judges ruled that they could not give an opinion as they had no jurisdiction on this aspect of international law and that it may be ‘damaging to the public interest in the field of international relations, national security or defence.’
The same CND legal team also produced an opinion on the Attorney General’s use of Resolutions 678, 687 and 1441 to authorise the war , both on the eve of war and after it became clear that weapons of mass destruction were not being found in Iraq .
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “The decision of the Information Tribunal is good news for everyone who supports the rule of law. The disgrace of the Attorney General ‘changing his mind’ on whether the war could be justified must be exposed in all its detail. We strongly hope the Brown government will not appeal any further against the release of the minutes in a fruitless attempt to save the already tattered reputation of Tony Blair. Contrary to what the judges ruled in 2002, it was clearly in the public interest for the matter to be raised then, and it remains so today.”
She continued, “The illegality of the war on Iraq, and the crimes committed there, cannot be swept under the carpet. Six years does not erase the guilt of those responsible for breaking international law and bringing about the deaths of countless thousands of innocent civilians. This will be a running sore, not only in British politics, but in international relations, until the truth comes out and those guilty are put on trial in an international tribunal.”