Ex-UK military chief says he was not shown full legal advice on Iraq war

[JURIST] Former UK Chief of the Defense Staff Admiral Sir Michael Boyce [Burke's Peerage profile] told the Observer newspaper in an interview [full transcript] published Monday that he was never shown the full legal advice from British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith expressing reservations about the legality of invading Iraq, and insisted that if as a result of the inadequate legal cover provided by the advice members of the UK military were ever prosecuted for their roles in the war they would have to be joined in the dock by senior civil service and political leaders, including Goldsmith and Prime Minister Tony Blair. Boyce told the Observer that he had always been concerned with the prospect of prosecution before the new International Criminal Court (a tribunal the jurisdiction of which has notably been rejected by the US), and that especially in that context

I wanted to make sure that we had this anchor which has been signed by the government law officer ... It may not stop us from being charged, but, by God, it would make sure other people were brought into the frame as well.
Concerns about the legal advice provided to the British government before the Iraq war were highlighted late last week when the March 7 2003 advice of Lord Goldsmith was published for the first time by 10 Downing Street [JURIST report] after a portion of it was leaked to the BBC. On Sunday, the Sunday Times newspaper published a confidential UK Foreign Office analysis [text] of the legalities of an Iraq conflict that also expressed legal doubts about a war in the absence of a second UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force that was never forthcoming. The Observer has more.


 

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