Blair to be grilled over Iraq war

Former PM Tony Blair would be grilled in public over Iraq war.

Updated: Jul 30, 2009, 20:21 PM IST

London: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair,
who took Britain to the Iraq conflict alongside the US, would
be grilled in public over his controversial actions.

The former Prime Minister will be called to testfy to
the Iraq war inquiry, said inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot,
who launched the long-awaited probe today.

Even as Blair apparently warned that the hearings
would lead to it becoming a "show trial" if they were held in
public, Chilcot underlined that "wherever possible" evidence
would be heard in public, perhaps live on television.

However, Chilcot said some sessions would remain
behind closed doors, "consistent with the need to protect
national security, sometimes to ensure complete candour and
openness from witnesses".

Chilcot, formerly a senior civil servant, said his
five-member committee would look at the period from the summer
of 2001 to the end of July 2009, covering the run-up to the
conflict, the military action and the aftermath. This is the
widest scope ever for a government inquiry.

Chilcot said bereaved families of those killed during
the conflict and others "seriously affected" would be among
the first to make their feelings known to the inquiry and
arrangements are already in hand to meet them "as soon as
practicable". Between 2003 and 2009, 179 British service
personnel were killed in Iraq.

"We are determined to be thorough, rigorous, fair and
frank to enable us to form impartial and evidence-based
judgments on all aspects of the issues, including the argument
about the legality of the conflict," Chilcot was quoted as
saying in the British media.

Bureau Report