The case that the Iraq War was illegal has become stronger with yesterday’s publication of John Chilcot’s Report. This means that it is becoming increasingly probable that illegal military actions were taken from, inter alia, Mauritian soil.
Section 111 of the Mauritian Constitution defines Mauritius as including Diego Garcia. This has always been true, and now the 2015 UNCLOS Judgment and last week’s Supreme Court Judgment in the Bancoult case add strong weight to Mauritius’ sovereignty.
It is a serious problem for Mauritius when illegal military action uses Mauritius’ territory. It is well known that B-52 bombers took off from Diego Garcia in order to bombard the city of Baghdad in the reckless Shock and Awe bombings. So, now it is not only illegal “rendering” and torture of illegal prisoners that has taken place on Diego Garcia; it is not only the flaunting of the Pelindaba Treaty for a Nuclear-Arms Free Africa and the Convention against Land Mines and Cluster Bombs; now it is becoming increasingly clear through the Chilcot Report that a whole war was illegally conducted from, inter alia, Diego Garcia.
The Chilcot Report states that Britain went to war on “flawed intelligence” that ought to have been challenged. This means the reason for war was not clear. In addition, the Reports adds that at the time there was “no immediate threat from Saddam Hussein”. This too means there was not a reason for war. Further, the Report states that peaceful solutions had not been exhausted. Tony Blair thus took Britain to war on the basis of dubious legality. And the report adds, the war went “badly wrong”. The Report concludes that the consequences of the invasion of Iraq were not foreseen in ways they ought to have been foreseen.
In fact, Blair assured George Bush that he was with him “whatever”. The only meaning that can be attached to these words is clear: Britain would follow the USA, even if it was embarking on dubious action.
One million people in Britain participated in the biggest march in history, so convinced were they that the war would be disastrous. So, LALIT asks, how is it that Tony Blair did not foresee this? How is it that Mauritian State did not object to its territory being used for an illegal war?
Family members of British soldiers killed in the war called Tony Blair a “terrorist” and said he once again proved himself “a liar” in his response to the Report.
The Chilcot Report thus gives added weight for the need for Sir Aneerood Jugnauth to go ahead in the UN General Assembly and the UN International Court of Justice at The Hague. It also shows the importance of calling for a time-line for base closure. The base is just not compatible with peace in the Indian Ocean, or the world as a whole.
7 July, 2016