Nick Clegg today stated that he believes the war in Iraq was an “illegal invasion”. In other words, there were not sufficient legal grounds to justify the invasion. Wow! Anyone and everyone has been saying this for years. Does anyone though, seriously expect Blair to be held to account for his actions in the lead up to the war? Can you imagine in 5 years time, Blair playing gin rummy with Al-Bashir in the Hague awaiting trial. Let’s be honest with ourselves…this isn’t going to happen!
Despite the concept of universal jurisdiction, we can see that there are some characters, primarily due to their political positioning, who are just “untouchable”. Another example, can you seriously imagine, Johann Hari’s or Dawkins requests for the Pope to be arrested for “crimes against humanity” ever happening? If not, why not? The Pope is visiting British soil this September (meaning the same principle of jurisdiction as applied against Pinochet could stand). Pope Benedict is a man who wrote (in 1985) that the “good of the church” should be considered against defrocking of an American priest who was known to abusing children. We have documented evidence of this (a signed, dated letter). The Pope is not the head of a UN recognised State (although this rule should be questioned). A man, has been shown to be covering up child rape, he should face trial! When it can be shown that this was happening on a large-scale, it becomes a crime against humanity. So why is the Pope not going to face trial?
George Monbiot, argues that the very image of the Pope awaiting trial would begin to highlight the concept of “equality before the law”. Should our “leaders” be governed by a different set of values and laws to what we face? As radical as the very concept of calling for Blair and Benedict’s arrest is, it would at least on first thought, appear to hold up to scrutiny. Should we be on the streets demanding the arrest warrant for the Pope?