Bush, Blair should face trial over Iraq war: Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu accused both former British PM Tony Blair and former US president George Bush of lying about weapons of mass destruction.

London: Former British prime minister Tony Blair and former US president George Bush should be tried by the International Criminal Court of Justice in The Hague for their role in the Iraq War, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has said.

Tutu, a Nobel peace prize winner and hero of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, accused both Bush and Blair of lying about weapons of mass destruction, and said that the invasion left the world more destabilised and divided ‘than any other conflict in history’.

According to The Guardian, Tutu, writing in The Observer, also suggested that the controversial US and UK-led action to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003 created the backdrop for a civil war in Syria and a possible wider Middle East conflict involving Iran.

“The then leaders of the United States and Great Britain fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us," Tutu said.

He said that the death toll during and after the Iraq conflict is sufficient on its own for Blair and Bush to be tried at the ICC.

"On these grounds, alone, in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in The Hague,” he said.

According to the report, Tutu, a longtime critic of the Iraq war, pulled out of a South African conference on leadership last week because Blair, who was paid ZAR two million (GBP 150,000) for his time, was attending. In his article, the archbishop argued that as well as the death toll, there has been a heavy moral cost to civilisation, with no gain, the report said.

"Even greater costs have been exacted beyond the killing fields, in the hardened hearts and minds of members of the human family across the world,” Tutu added.