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High Court rejects bid by Iraqi general to bring private prosecution against Tony Blair

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair sent British forces to Iraq in 2003. Credit: PA

The High Court has rejected a bid by a former chief of staff of the Iraqi army to bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair over the Iraq War.

General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat has accused the former prime minister of committing a "crime of aggression" by invading Iraq in 2003 to overthrow President Saddam Hussein.

The UK was part of the coalition led by the US who invaded the country after then US President George W Bush and Mr Blair accused Hussein of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having links to terrorists.

Tony Blair pledged Britain's support for the US-led invasion of Iraq. Credit: AP

The general wanted to prosecute Mr Blair and two other key ministers at the time - foreign secretary Jack Straw and attorney general Lord Goldsmith.

His lawyers had asked for permission to seek judicial review in an attempt to get the Supreme Court to overturn a House of Lords ruling.

In 2006, the Lords ruled that there is no such crime as the crime of aggression under the law of England and Wales.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, and Mr Justice Ouseley dismissed the general's application, saying there was "no prospect" of the case succeeding.

British forces took part in the invasion with the supposed aim of toppling Saddam Hussein. Credit: PA

The Iraq War claimed the lives of 179 British soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi

In 2016, the seven-year long Chilcot inquiry concluded that Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat and military action was not the "last resort".

It also accused Mr Blair of making the decision to go to war on "flawed intelligence" presented as fact to Parliament and the British public.

He was also said to have "overestimated his ability to influence US decisions on Iraq".

Michael Mansfield QC, appearing for General Al Rabbat, recently said at one-day hearing that the Chilcot report justified the prosecution of Mr Blair.

Mr Blair has previously said he takes full responsibility for the war as he expressed "more sorrow, regret and apology than you may ever know".