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Last Updated: Monday, 28 July, 2003, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Lawyers sue Blair over war
By Richard Galpin
BBC Athens correspondent

Tony Blair visits UK troops in Iraq
The UK Government insists the invasion of Iraq was legal
Top lawyers from Greece filed a lawsuit with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague on Monday against senior UK officials.

They want to indict Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior members of the UK government and military for allegedly breaching international law by attacking Iraq.

The lawyers, from the Athens Bar Council, say they have compiled a dossier of "strong evidence" against the officials, including more than 20 alleged war crimes.

They include the killing of Iraqi civilians, depriving the population of drinking water in cities such as Basra, the destruction of food supplies and the bombardment of residential areas.

The allegations are based on dozens of reports about the conflict, printed in newspapers and broadcast on television.

The Bar Association said the alleged crimes breached the statute of the International Criminal Court.

International Criminal Court logo
The ICHR has rejected a string of cases over Iraq
Among those accused with Mr Blair are Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, who recently retired as Chief of Defence Staff.

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court received the dossier, saying the contents would be reviewed.

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will now decide whether the case falls within his jurisdiction.

If he thinks it does, a panel of judges must also give approval before an investigation can begin.

Heinous crimes

The British Government has always stressed it acted within the law during the conflict.

But a senior Greek lawyer, who helped draw up the lawsuit, said it would be difficult for the British prime minister and others to defend themselves against the charges.

She alleged that heinous crimes have been committed which should not go unpunished.

The Greek lawyers announced in May their intention to take legal action.

They said the war in Iraq breached international treaties such as the Charter of the United Nations, the Geneva Conventions and the ICC's own Statute.

However, the ICC has already rejected almost 40 cases over the war in Iraq.

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