portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

imperialism & war

Attack would be 'clear violation of international law'

The Prime Minister was told by lawyers in his wife's legal chambers yesterday that the second UN resolution proposed by the US, Britain and Spain would not authorise war on Iraq, were it to be passed.

Lawyers from Matrix Chambers, where Tony Blair's wife Cherie practises, said that military action against Iraq would be a "clear violation of international law".
March 05, 2003

Attack would be 'in breach of law'
By Frances Gibb, Legal Editor
 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-600000,00.html

THE Prime Minister was told by lawyers in his wife's legal chambers yesterday that the second UN resolution proposed by the US, Britain and Spain would not authorise war on Iraq, were it to be passed.

Lawyers from Matrix Chambers, where Tony Blair's wife Cherie practises, said that military action against Iraq would be a "clear violation of international law".

Even if the resolution overcame opposition by France, Germany and Russia and were passed by the UN Security Council, it would not sanction war, according to Rabinder Singh, QC, and Charlotte Kilroy. The Government will have been advised on the draft resolution by Lord Goldsmith, QC, the Attorney-General, after taking advice from leading international law experts at the Bar.

Under the convention that legal advice from the Attorney-General to ministers is confidential, Lord Goldsmith has resolutely refused to confirm even whether he has given such advice, far less what it is. But he has said that any military action would comply with international law: "The Prime Minister has always made clear that we will, in our actions, comply with international law."

While the legal opinion from Matrix is that the draft resolution would not authorise the use of force, it is possible that other lawyers take the opposite view. The draft resolution says that Iraq has "failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in Resolution 1441".

But the legal opinion by Mr Singh and Ms Kilroy, on behalf of CND and other campaign groups, concluded that this "would not authorise the US and the UK to use force against Iraq if it were adopted". They added: "In the present circumstances as known to us, if there is no further resolution clearly authorising force, the US and the UK would be acting in violation of international law if they were to attack Iraq."

homepage: homepage: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-600000,00.html
address: address: Times Online