Sunday, March 20, 2011

UK publishes Libya legal advice (sort of)

(Elizabeth Wilmshurst CMG addressing the Iraq Enquiry. Thank-you for everything.)

Appearing at the Iraq Enquiry last year, former UK Foreign Office Deputy Legal Adviser Elizabeth Wilmshurst (now Head of the Chatham House International Law Programme) - and the only person to resign over the illegality of the 2003 Iraq invasion - described the 2003 legal and policy process as  ... lamentable. There should have been greater transparency within government about the evolving legal advice" .  

Quite right too. 

So it was with real interest that I saw a note from Nick Clegg to LibDem party members this morning on the Libyan situation which includes this:

"Colonel Gaddafi’s treatment of his own people has been brutal, savage and wholly unacceptable. We have worked with Libya’s regional neighbours, especially the Arab League, and countries across the globe, to secure a resolution in UN Security Council. This resolution will allow us to act lawfully  in deploying our forces to up-hold a ‘no-fly zone’ in Libya.

The Prime Minister gave a statement yesterday, which you can read here. And on Monday we will have a full debate in the House of Commons, followed by a vote. In addition we will be publishing a summary of the legal advice of the Attorney-General. 

That is the right approach. This is a coalition government that will act decisively to protect innocent lives and uphold universal human rights. But one which will do so working with, not against, international law and the international community."

Shortly, therefore, we should get to read a summary of Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC's thoughts. Great, I look forward to it. 

Even better, Nick, you could publish the whole thing, and not just the summary.
Update: Here's the UK legal advice. Very sensible.

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