The military intervention led by the UK and US-coalition in Iraq in 2003 has been the subject of widespread critique as being unjustified. The main reason is that the entire intervention is in breach with International Law.
The main breach of International Law that was committed by the UK and the other countries that were part of the coalition to invade Iraq in 2003 is the non-conformity of the intervention with the charter of the United Nations and the authority of the United Nations Security Council. According to the UN Charter, the use of force of a state against another sovereign nation has to be sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council. However, a UN- Security Council resolution to invade Iraq was never obtained by the UK and the USA. Even when the two permanent members to the Security Council tried to obtain such a resolution, they failed. Anyhow, they tried to justify their intervention with previous resolutions of the Security Council which was however deemed to be inadmissible by the greater public. Another important factor is that the authority to determine the existence of a threat to peace does not lay in individuals like Tony Blair but in the Security Council according to its Article 39. Furthermore, the UN Charter specifies that military means of intervention shall only be used as a last resort if diplomatic measures did not relax the situation. This protocol however was not respected by Tony Blair as the person with executive authority over the British armed forces. These facts demonstrate that the actions of Tony Blair with regards to the UK’s engagement in the Iraq war are in breach of International Law. Added to this, it is also important to take into account that not only the war itself but also the way certain operations were carried out is incompatible with International Law. This is demonstrated by the involvement of the International Court of Justice who is reinvestigating the “alleged war crimes committed by United Kingdom nationals in the context of the Iraq conflict and occupation from 2003 to 2008.”
The UK and the United States have tried to argue that they had an implicit right to invade Iraq in accordance to previous resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. They referred to resolutions about the Gulf war in 1991 that granted weapon inspections and the latter 1441 resolution that in their understanding authorised the invasion of Iraq.
A war needs to be legitimate under International Law to be justifiable.
[P1] Adherence to the Rule of Law and the fulfilment of obligations one has signed
Rejecting the premises
[P1] One is not bound by law in extraordinary circumstances.