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Former Iraqi general bids to prosecute Tony Blair over war

The general wants to bring a private prosecution against Mr Blair, ex-foreign secretary Jack Straw and the then-attorney general, Lord Goldsmith.

A former chief-of-staff of the Iraqi army is fighting a legal battle to prosecute Tony Blair over the Iraq war.

General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat alleges Mr Blair, then UK prime minister, committed “the crime of aggression” by invading Iraq in 2003.

The general wants to bring a private prosecution against Mr Blair and two other key ministers at the time – foreign secretary Jack Straw and the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith.

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Mr Blair was PM during the 2003 invasion of Iraq (Niall Carson/PA)

Westminster Magistrates’ Court refused to issue summonses in November last year on the grounds that the ex-ministers had immunity from legal action, and in any event the current Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, would have to give consent.

The general applied to the High Court in London for permission to seek judicial review of the magistrates court decision.

After a half-day hearing, two judges reserved their judgment and said they would give their decision on whether to grant permission at a later date.

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Judges said they would give their decision at a later date (Victoria Jones/PA)

The general lives in Muscat, Oman, does not possess a passport and could not be at the hearing on Wednesday.

But Court 4 of the Royal Courts of Justice was filled by citizens from Middle East countries including Iraq and Syria who say they feel they have had to pay the price of the Iraq invasion.

The Attorney General intervened in the case and his legal team urged Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, sitting with Mr Justice Ouseley, to block the general’s legal challenge on the grounds that it was “hopeless” and unarguable because the crime of aggression is not recognised in English law.

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