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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Blair faces war crimes suit
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis
Blair recently met with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis
Greek lawyers say they are going to sue British officials - including Prime Minister Tony Blair - for their role in the Iraq war.

The Athens Bar Association says it will file a suit against Britain at the International Criminal Court - the recently created tribunal for cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The lawyers call the attacks by the United States and British forces against Iraq "crimes against humanity and war crimes".

They have listed a number of international treaties they say the two countries have violated.

We have received more than 200 communications from different parts of the world
ICC spokeswoman

These include the United Nations Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Convention and the International Criminal Court's statute.

Dimitris Paxinos, the head of the lawyers' association, told the BBC the lawsuit will be filed within a fortnight.

He said American officials could not be prosecuted as the US is not a signatory to the ICC's founding treaty.

Eighty-nine countries signed up to the treaty creating the court, which was formally inaugurated in March in The Hague.

Mr Paxinos, who was elected by a conservative majority, says he is confident that the evidence compiled by the lawyers is strong, adding that the case would be a test of the ICC's credibility.

Anti-war Greeks

The ICC is not working yet. Last month it appointed an Argentine lawyer, Luis Moreno Ocampo, to be its first prosecutor.

A spokeswoman for the court told BBC News Online that only after Mr Ocampo was sworn in on 16 June would the court consider the Greek lawyers' case.

"We have received more than 200 communications from different parts of the world," she said.

The British Prime Minister's office has declined to comment on the announcement.

According to the BBC's Panos Polyzoidis in Athens, the move is also unlikely to go down well with the Greek Government as it will act as a reminder of the Greek public's strong anti-war feeling, which cuts across party lines.


SEE ALSO:
ICC selects Argentine prosecutor
25 Mar 03  |  Americas
EU demands action by Iraq
31 Aug 02  |  Europe
US accused of ICC bullying
14 Aug 02  |  Americas
UK seeks ICC deal with US
01 Jul 02  |  World at One


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