Chilcot inquiry

An edited version of this comment by Gbenga Oduntan, Kent Law School Lecturer in International Commercial Law, appeared in the Guardian letters page (Guardian 1 Feb 2010 p29):

It appears that the lessons of the Chilcot inquiry are clear. Not only national laws, but the United Nations Charter and customary international law all forbid the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the Bush-Blair administrations. The only things that probably permitted it among others are the intentions of Bush and Blair, the facts that the erstwhile foreign Secretary Jack Straw was a lawyer but not an ‘international lawyer’ and the Attorney General,  Goldsmith was a lawyer who took his lessons from US sources that cannot be named. That ideally leaves us with the following imperatives; firstly, that such an event should never happen again if attention is paid to the principles of customary and contemporary international law and secondly that every single day left in the so called fight against terrorism will benefit from the constant direction of international lawyers. A good source of where their wisdom comes from is Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice annexed to the UN Charter which, states that the sources of international law are:

a. international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by  states;
b. international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law;
c. the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations;
d. judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law.