Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu called today for Tony Blair and George Bush to be tried for war crimes over their role in the Iraq invasion.
The outspoken priest accused the former prime minister and US president of lying about the existence of weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for the 2003 attack and said the war had left the world more destabilised and divided "than any other conflict in history."
Archbishop Tutu, a long-time critic of the Iraq war, pulled out of a South African conference on leadership last week because Mr Blair was attending.
Writing in the Observer, he said that the invasion was the backdrop for both the civil war in Syria and a potential attack on Iran.
"The then leaders of the United States and Great Britain fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart," he wrote.
"They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand - with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us."
Regarding his call for Blair and Bush to face justice at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, he said there was a double standard over the prosecution of African leaders as opposed to Western ones, and that the death toll during and after the Iraq conflict was sufficient on its own for them to face prosecution.
"On these grounds alone, in a consistent world, those responsible should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in The Hague."
Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German told the Star: "It is very much to his credit that he has spoken out. Obviously faced with having to share a platform with Blair he felt he had to speak out. It is a great shame that he is one of the very few public figures doing so.
"We cannot go on decade after decade having these wars, this death and destruction, and no-one being held to account.
"Desmond Tutu makes the point that if they were former African leaders they would probably have been before The Hague already. Because Bush and Blair come from two of the biggest imperial powers they are able to get away with it."
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