Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu has called for former prime minister Tony Blair and former president George W Bush to face trial at The Hague International Criminal Court for their roles in the Iraq war, a war he says was based on lies.
In an article written for The Guardian, Tutu paints both Blair and Bush as "playground bullies" and says: "Instead of recognising that the world we lived in, with increasingly sophisticated communications, transportations and weapons systems necessitated sophisticated leadership that would bring the global family together, the then-leaders of the US and UK fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart."UPI reports Tutu believes the death toll in Iraq is enough justification for charges to be levied against Blair and Bush, and also says the invasion of Iraq helped to push Iran into its current nuclear mode, as well as setting the stage for rebellion in Syria.
In his article in The Guardian, Tutu justifies his call for trial by saying: The cost of the decision to rid Iraq of its by-all-accounts despotic and murderous leader has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself. Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in
Executive Office of the President of the United States
U.S. President George W. Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair shake hands after receiving notification that the Coalition Provisional Authority had returned full sovereignty to Iraq
suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded.
Tutu goes on to say: "But even greater costs have been exacted beyond the killing fields, in the hardened hearts and minds of members of the human family across the world.
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?"
Tony Blair responded to Tutu's comments by telling AFP "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."
A Voice of America article says Tutu believes that Western leaders are held to a different standard than their African counterparts. According to USA Today, The Hague, which is the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal, has only launched prosecutions on countries in Africa, including in Sudan, Congo, Libya and Ivory Coast .
Tutu is not the first to call for criminal prosecution of Blair and Bush. Nobel Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter called for Bush and Blair be tried before the International Criminal Court of Justice in his 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech and asks "How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought."USA Today says the final report of a two-year long investigation into the Iraq war by Great Britain has yet to published. The panel conducting the investigation took evidence from political leaders including Blair, military chiefs and intelligence officers. Two previous British studies cleared Blair's government of wrongdoing.