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Leaked documents question legality of UK involvement in Iraq

[JURIST] UK government reports [The Sunday Telegraph materials] leaked on Sunday revealed many shortcomings in the country's involvement in the Iraq War, some possibly rising to the level of illegality. The documents show that the UK's plans for invasion of Iraq began secretly in February 2002 [Telegraph report], while former Prime Minister Tony Blair misled the public by saying there was no planned military action, but rather a plan for disarmament. Notably, the planning began before a UN resolution was endorsed and the materials suggest that the clandestine operation was rushed and lacked coherence. The reports also indicate that the operations were inadequately supplied, stating that some troops went into battle with only five bullets each and noting that the Foreign Office post-war planning unit was not set up until well after the war began. Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price stated [Wales News report] that the UK government should submit itself to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] if its actions are found to be illegal.

In October 2009, a UK High Court criticized the Ministry of Defence for its failure to properly set up an independent inquiry into claims that war crimes had been committed by British soldiers following the so-called "Battle of Danny Boy" [BBC backgrounder] in southern Iraq. The documents were leaked before the Iraq Inquiry [official website] also known as the Chilcot Inquiry due to the management of Sir John Chilcot [Guardian profile], could meet. An open session for the Inquiry is still set for Tuesday, but the report is not expected to be released until the end of 2010. The committee was set up in June 2009 by the prime minister in order to “identify lessons that can be learned from the Iraq conflict.”

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