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Peace group calls for arrest of Tony Blair for "war crimes"

Peace group calls for arrest of Tony Blair for "war crimes"

An Auckland peace group is calling on the attorney general to arrest the visiting ex British Prime Minister Tony Blair for war crimes committed during the invasion of Iraq.

In a letter to Chris Finlayson, Global Peace and Justice Auckland spokesperson John Minto said Mr Blair is guilty of war crimes punishable under New Zealand law.

“We have provided Mr Finlayson with an opinion supporting the war crimes allegation by Treasa Dunworth a senior lecturer in the faculty of law at Auckland university. We have even enclosed a draft Application for Warrant of Arrest which details the legal basis of the war crimes which can be used to arrest Mr Blair as soon as he steps off the plane tomorrow,” said Mr Minto.

If the government fails to act GPJA will try and execute a citizen’s arrest during Mr Blair’s highly paid performance tomorrow at Eden Park.

GPJA has organized a protest from 11am tomorrow in Walters Rd outside Eden Park.

Mr Minto said “Iraq posed no immediate threat to any other country, there were no weapons of mass destruction and no plans or programme to develop weapons of mass destruction. Tony Blair knew this but deceived the public and a gullible media because British multinationals wanted their share of the massive Iraqi oil reserves."

From: John Minto
Sent: Wednesday, 27 July 2011 4:30 p.m.
To: c.finlayson@ministers.govt.nz

The Hon Chris Finaylson

Tony Blair is shortly to land in New Zealand for a speaking engagement in Auckland on 28 July 2011. By this letter, we request an investigation into contended war crimes by Tony Blair and request that consideration be given to arresting Mr Blair during his visit on suspicion of war crimes punishable under New Zealand law.

You will be broadly aware of the nature of the concerns regarding Mr Blair’s conduct in relation to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This has included significant international commentary regarding (i) the illegality of the invasion and (ii) the contention that Tony Blair’s role in it is such that he is guilty of war crimes.

Given the imminence of Mr Blair’s visit, and to assist you to consider the position in a timely way, we enclose:

(a) An opinion from Treasa Dunworth, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland. This paper summarises:

(i) The consensus view amongst leading commentators and judiciary that the invasion was illegal and that its authorisation by Mr Blair constituted the crime of aggression as recognised under customary international law;
(ii) The levels of civilian deaths that resulted inter alia from the use of indiscriminate weapons;
(iii) The basis on which supervisory responsibility is attributed to Mr Blair under Article 28(b) of the Rome Statute 1998;
(iv) Reasons why Mr Blair may not be afforded the protection of sovereign or state immunity; and
(v) New Zealand’s positive obligations to pursue and prosecute war criminals regardless of nationality (including under Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949).

(b) A draft Application for Warrant of Arrest. Again to assist you, the draft particularises the basis of the contended war crimes in some detail. Although the draft identifies in particular an offence under s11(2)(b) of the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act 2000, this is based on information publicly available in New Zealand. There may be further information obtainable by you warranting prosecution for additional offences including grave breaches of the Geneva Convention.

We appreciate that the timing of Mr Blair’s visit does not give a great deal of time for consideration of this matter. We are happy to assist you by providing any further input that may assist you. Also, we understand that Ms Dunworth is available and willing to provide any further assistance to you.

Yours Sincerely

John Minto
Global Peace and Justice Auckland


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