Wednesday, 27 January 2010

So, was the war lawful?

The Head of Legal blog argues that the Iraq War of 2003 was lawful. I have put my own, admittedly non-expert, view on that excellent blog which is to the effect that the trail of UN Security Council Resolutions from Resolution 660 (2nd August 1990) to 1441 (29th November 2002) – a period of over 12 years – ought not to have been relied upon for the legality of the war. Of course, many continue to have doubts about the legality and those views have been aired at the Chilcot Inquiry notably by Sir Michael Wood QC and Elizabeth Wilmshurst who were, respectively, Head and Deputy Head of Legal Affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The “Resolution Trail” is far from easy but it is certainly informative.

We certainly have an odd system in our country. Practically everyone with knowledge and experience of international law said it was unlawful. The Attorney-General finally concludes it is lawful. He wins!!


  1. But ultimately they are only views about the legality of the war. Until it goes to court and is decided one way or another, there will always be argments on both sides. And there's zero chance that it will ever get to court.


  2. Yes, they are only views and I think that the issue is most unlikely to get to any court. [It may be that the only court which could give an absolutely definitive ruling would be the International Court of Justice which exists under the UN Charter.]

    Nevertheless, it is an interesting and important issue. It relates to how UN Security Council Resolutions are to be interpreted and for that reason the outcome may well have future importance. In international law, what has happened before may be very relevant for any future similar scenarios.