Ex-Brit judge says US and UK acted as ”vigilantes” in Iraq invasion

November 18th, 2008 - 3:10 pm ICT by ANI  

Gordon Brown

London, Nov.18 (ANI): One of Britain’’s most authoritative judicial figures on Monday accused both Britain and the United States of acting like “world vigilantes”.
Former senior Law Lord Bingham said in his first major speech since retiring that the 2003 invasion was fundamentally flawed.
Contradicting head-on Lord Goldsmith’’s advice that the invasion was lawful, the Guardian quoted Lord Bingham as saying: “It was not plain that Iraq had failed to comply in a manner justifying resort to force and there were no strong factual grounds or hard evidence to show that it had.”
Adding his weight to the body of international legal opinion opposed to the invasion, Bingham said that to argue, as the British government had done, that Britain and the US could unilaterally decide that Iraq had broken UN resolutions “passes belief”.
Governments were bound by international law as much as by their domestic laws, he said.
“The current ministerial code binding on British ministers, requires them as an overarching duty to ”comply with the law, including international law and treaty obligations”,” he said.
While the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats continue to press for an independent inquiry into the circumstances around the invasion, the Gordon Brown Government says an inquiry would be harmful while British troops are in Iraq.
Ministers say most of the remaining 4,000 will leave by mid-2009.
Addressing the British Institute of International and Comparative Law last night, Bingham said: “If I am right that the invasion of Iraq by the US, the UK, and some other states was unauthorised by the (UN) Security Council there was, of course, a serious violation of international law and the rule of law.
Bingham also criticised the post-invasion record of Britain as “an occupying power in Iraq”. It is “sullied by a number of incidents, most notably the shameful beating to death of Mr Baha Mousa [a hotel receptionist] in Basra [in 2003]“, he said. (ANI)

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