Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 17:25 UK

Iraq relative in 'genocide' call

Peter Brierley
Mr Brierley previously told Mr Blair his hand "had blood on it".

A dead soldier's father who refused to shake Tony Blair's hand has called for British ministers to face charges of war crimes and genocide.

Peter Brierley, whose son Shaun died in Kuwait in 2003, was among the relatives critical of ministers in a preliminary hearing of the Iraq war inquiry.

He said: "If someone has done something wrong they should pay."

At an Iraq memorial service last week he told Mr Blair he would not shake his hand "because it had blood on it".

His son, L/Cpl Shaun Brierley, 29, from Batley, West Yorkshire, died from head injuries sustained when his Land Rover was involved in a road accident in Kuwait.

Speaking at an inquiry session on Friday, Mr Brierley, 59, of Batley, West Yorkshire said: "Members of the government that are proved to be involved in a decision to go to war should face a court charge of crimes against humanity and genocide.

"We have got to rely on the facts. If that leads to judgments that are critical, we are going to make them in our report
Sir John Chilcot

"Saddam Hussein was tried for the deaths of 280 people in a village and he was hung for it. I think Tony Blair is responsible for a hell of a lot more than 280 people.

"If someone has done something wrong they should pay. If you do the crime you've got to do the time."

Mr Brierley and other relatives were responding to an appeal by inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot for the views of "those most affected by the conflict".

Another relative, Eddie Hancock, whose son Jamie died in Basra in 2006, said there was "a bitterness that borders on hatred" among relatives at Mr Blair's decision to take the UK to war in Iraq.

The families are angry with the former prime minister for using the threat of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction as a justification for Britain's support of the US-led invasion in 2003.

No evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was found.

Mr Hancock told Sir John he hoped his inquiry was "big enough to take down the protectionism surrounding Blair, brick-by-brick if necessary".

Speaking outside the hearing, he said: "I hope that Sir John will have the courage and fortitude and integrity to take no prisoners and I hope he will broaden his very narrow brief, and that will include naming names.

"If Tony Blair is found to be innocent he should be publicly exonerated. If he is found to be guilty and lied to the nation he should get it straight in the neck."

Lessons learned

Karen Thornton, whose son Lee died after being shot in Basra in 2006, said: "We hope that we will get answers from the inquiry and we hope that Tony Blair is held to account for the war he has caused based on lies."

The inquiry, which started work at the end of July, will examine the period from 2001 to the end of July 2009.

It will consider the UK's involvement in Iraq, how decisions were made and will identify lessons that can be learned.

Sir John told the assembled families: "We have got to rely on the facts. If that leads to judgments that are critical, we are going to make them in our report, there's absolutely no question about that."

Mr Blair and other key figures in the war are scheduled to give evidence to the inquiry at a date yet to be decided.

Meanwhile, the committee is going through thousands of government documents before holding its first public hearings later this year.

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