War waged on PM over Iraq conflict

Lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic have stepped up legal attacks on the US and UK governments in a bid to prevent war with Iraq

In the UK, solicitor Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers and Rabinder Singh QC of Matrix Chambers today (3 March) made public a legal opinion which states that even if a second resolution is reached, an attack would be in clear breach of the United Nations Charter.

“There needs to be an authorisation of force from the security counsel, and there's not going to be an authorisation,” said Shiner.

Shiner and Singh are also looking at the possibility of bringing a war crimes case against Prime Minister Tony Blair if the war does proceed. “That's also full steam ahead,” Shiner said, predicting that the first hearing could be in two month's time.

In the US, challenges have reached a more advanced stage. Tomorrow (4 March) a group of plaintiffs, including three US soldiers and a dozen congress people, will take a case against President George W Bush and secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld to the court of appeal.

The plaintiffs are claiming Bush has no right to launch an attack on Iraq without the backing of Congress, which the plaintiffs say has not been gained.