Dutch inquiry: Iraq war was illegal

Independent commission says 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq lacked legitimacy.

    The report said that Balkenende, left, 'took little or no lead in debates on the Iraq question' [EPA]

    Wrong interpretation

    The commission's report said the wording of UN resolution 1441 "cannot reasonably be interpreted [as the Dutch government did] as authorising individual member states to use military force to compel Iraq to comply with the Security Council's resolutions".

    The probe found that Dutch policy on Iraq had been defined by de Hoop Scheffer [Reuters]
    The text of the resolution, passed unanimously by the UN in 2002, offered Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" laid down under several previous resolutions.

    The Dutch probe, which started its work in March, found that policy on the issue had been defined by the country's foreign ministry under then minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who later became Nato secretary-general.

    "The prime minister [Jan Peter Balkenende] took little or no lead in debates on the Iraq question; he left the matter of Iraq entirely to the minister of foreign affairs," the report said.

    The commission also found that Dutch intelligence services did not have "any significant amount of independently sourced information" that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destructions, the main justification used by the US and Britain for the war and which were never found.

    Balkenende, who is still prime minister, has repeatedly stated that Dutch backing for the invasion was based on the then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's refusal to respect UN Security Council resolutions.

    The commission report said the Dutch government did not disclose to parliament the full content of a 2002 US request for support.

    UK inquiry

    Last month, Hans Blix, who led the UN weapons inspection team in the run-up to the 2003 invasion, was highly critical of US and British policy over the war.

    Blix said George Bush, the former US president, and Tony Blair, the ex-British prime minister, shared a conviction that Hussein was a threat, blinding them to the lack of evidence justifying war and causing them to mislead the public.

    "The war, in my view, was illegal, yes. The British knew the evidence [of weapons] was thin, and they should have remembered that before they started shooting," Blix said

    When questioned if he thought Blair could be tried for war crimes, Blix said: "Well, yes, maybe so. Well, we'll see. It's not very likely to happen."

    An official inquiry into the war has started in Britain, with Blair set to testify in the coming weeks over the intelligence used to make a case for war.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.