Currently, both former US President Dubya Bush and former British Prime Minister and Israel-Firster, Tony Blair are being tried by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal in Malaysia for war crimes and a regime change in Iraq (for Israel). This is the first time a war crime charge has been heard against these two former heads of state in compliance with due legal process, wherein complaints from war victims had been received, duly investigated and formal charges instituted by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.
The Tribunal heard that the UK Attorney General (AG) had reservations, at the relevant time that the UN Resolution 1441 did not permit the use of force against Iraq for non compliance with the said resolution in his advice to the Prime Minister on 7 March 2003. And the AG maintained his stand even years later at the Chilcot Enquiry in January 2011.
The Prosecution argued that UK along with the US had also advanced the viewpoint that regime change could be the basis for the use of force. This viewpoint had been expressed as far back as 1998 when president Clinton suggested that Saddam Hussein had to be removed to end his threat. The Iraq Liberation Act passed in 1998 declared that goal of US policy should be to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power. This then became the official US policy. Bush and Blair had on various occasions since then expressed this viewpoint. Two months after 9/11, Bush had asked Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, to review existing battle plans for Iraq. On September 15, 2001 Bush stated ‘once Afghanistan has been dealt with, it will be Iraq’s turn’.
Blair had also stated after the invasion of Iraq, that even if there were no threat of weapons of mass destruction, he would still have effected regime change in Iraq. The AG had advised Blair on 7 March 2003 that regime change could not be the objective of military action.
The Tribunal heard that the US and UK had commenced a ‘secret air war’ against Iraq in the later half of 2002 and early 2003 wherein 21,736 air sorties resulting in 253,000 pounds of bombs being dropped in Southern Iraq to degrade the Iraqi air defences. This was the beginning of the war.
The conduct of both accused indicated a clear intention to invade Iraq to effect regime change that was never authorised by UN Resolution 1441.
As of May 2011 1.4 million Iraqis, 4,770 US soldiers and 2,445 personnel from other coalition forces have lost their lives as result of the invasion of Iraq.