In an unsurprising turn of events, the High Court has blocked the prosecution of Tony Blair for the Iraq war, brutally reminding us of the true face of the justice system within capitalism. Fiona Lali of the SOAS Marxists discusses the latest events in the campaign to see the former New Labour leader convicted for taking the country into an illegal war.
In an unsurprising turn of events, the High Court has blocked the prosecution of Tony Blair for the Iraq war, brutally reminding us of the true face of the justice system within capitalism.
The case sought to prosecute Blair for the crime of aggression (the use of state military force, which violates the Charter of the United Nations), based on the findings of last year’s Chilcot report.
The legal system under capitalism ultimately exists to defend the actions and interests of the ruling class – and this could not be clearer in the case of the former prime minister. Britain’s involvement in Iraq has long been accepted as nothing but an imperialist adventure; an illegal war, based on fabricated lies, responsible for years of misery, death and destruction.
The Chilcot report, which was only eventually published after a shameful delay of seven years, confirmed that Blair’s actions were premeditated and deceitful. It went as far as describing the war as unnecessary.
Damning though it was, it fell short of placing blame entirely on Blair, claiming there was no basis for criminal prosecutions.
Similarly, the High Court has now come to the conclusion that English law cannot support the prosecution because it contradicts our legal precedent. So the case has been dismissed on the grounds that Blair holds immunity, and that the ‘crime of aggression’ is not a part of English law – as “it is for parliament and parliament alone” to decide on crimes of aggression in domestic law.
What is clear, therefore, is that while this system exists, war criminals such as Tony Blair will never have to face up to the reality of their crimes.
At the time, Blair insisted “regime change in Iraq would be a wonderful thing”. Indeed, to this day he maintains that Iraq has a brighter future thanks to the removal of Saddam Hussein. This is disgraceful. Iraq, which has become rife with terrorism and sectarianism, is doomed to a war-ridden future.
If the establishment allowed Blair to be prosecuted, it would be openly highlighting the cracks in a system that is already crumbling. The ruling class cannot hide from its mistake in Iraq. The war was met with overwhelming opposition and protests from millions of people in Britain (and many more around the world), and all further military adventures by British imperialism have been haunted by its failure.
We must continue to expose the atrocities implemented by Blair and his counterparts. But justice will never be done until capitalism – and the legal system that upholds it – is destroyed.