London : Veteran British MP Jeremy Corbyn on Friday called for former prime minister Tony Blair to be put on trial for war crimes as a lesson to prevent illegal invasions of other countries in future.
“Legal action should be taken not because it is going to change what happened in Iraq but because it may stop the same thing happening against Iran or any other country,” said Corbyn, who is also vice-chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
“It is important to establish international law has pre-eminence and there is nothing in international law to allow one country to invade another,” he told IRNA.
The 61-year old Labour MP was speaking, while attending a protest outside the Iraq Inquiry in central London, while Blair was answering questions for a second time about his role in the lead up to the 2003 war.
“I opposed war from the beginning, over half a million lost their lives, billions were made by arms manufacturers and oil companies and we need to know truth,” said Corbyn, who has been an MP since 1983.
He said he wanted to know why Blair thought he could justify the “illegal invasion and if he thinks all the devastation, destruction, deaths and mayhem in Iraq is a price worth paying.”
“The truth needs to come out on the process, so any legal action can follow,” he said, amid hundreds of protesters calling for the former premier to be put on trial for war crimes.
“In my own opinion, the war was based on the vanity the prime minister and (US) president. It was wholly illegal and deeply immoral,” Corbyn said.
Inside the inquiry, Blair denied offering Bush a ‘blank cheque’ to invade Iraq and also argued that he was entitled to ignore the warning by the former attorney general, the government’s chief legal adviser, about war being illegal without a second UN resolution.
Corbyn criticised the British government for preventing the publication of secret notes sent by the former premier to the former US president ahead of the war and suggested that the inquiry was developing into an “establishment cover-up.”
But he also expressed hope that when the inquiry publishes its report later this year that it would open the door for anyone to take legal action to prosecute Blair for war crimes.