Chilcot report to be boycotted by relatives of troops killed

Foremr prime minister Tony Blair said he would not comment until the report is published. The document runs to two million words. Picture: Getty

Foremr prime minister Tony Blair said he would not comment until the report is published. The document runs to two million words. Picture: Getty

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The long-awaited unveiling of the Chilcot inquiry report into the Iraq war will be boycotted by relatives of some of the 179 Britons killed in the conflict, who fear it will be a “whitewash”.

The two million-word report, six years in the making, will be made public by Sir John Chilcot tomorrow.

Tony Blair, prime minister when Britain went to war, has said he will not make any comment until the report is made public.

The International Criminal Court has indicated the former Labour leader will not be liable for prosecution, reiterating its conclusion ten years ago that the decision to go to war is not within its jurisdiction.

The court said it will look at the report’s findings before deciding whether there is a “reasonable basis” to begin an investigation.

In a statement the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC said: “We will take note of the Chilcot report when released in the context of its ongoing preliminary examination work concerning Iraq/UK. A preliminary examination is not an investigation, but a process aimed at determining whether reasonable basis exist to open an investigation.

“As already indicated by the Office in 2006, the ‘decision by the UK to go to war in Iraq falls outside the court’s jurisdiction’.”

Speaking earlier, Mr Blair said: “I have taken the view, I think rightly or wrongly, we should wait for the report to be published and then I will express myself and I’m not getting into either the politics or the detail of it until I’ve actually seen it.”

A number of MPs are expected to try to use an ancient law to try to impeach the former prime minister once the findings are published.

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said there “has to be a judicial or political reckoning” for Blair’s role in the Iraq conflict while shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the “processes” of how Britain ended up at war must be examined “so we never ever get into this tragic, tragic mess again with such loss of life”.

Some of those whose loved ones died in the war between 2003 and 2009 fear the report will not give them the answers they desperately want.

Gary Nicholson, 42, was one of ten servicemen who died when their Hercules C-130 aircraft was shot down in 2005.

His mother Julia said: “It will be a whitewash. I’m absolutely disgusted. I’m not going because it will be a whitewash. Tony Blair has got blood on his hands. He will have covered his back and [George] Bush’s back.”

Janice Procter, whose son Michael Trench, 18, was one of the youngest British soldiers to die in Iraq when he was killed in 2007, said: “It’s been horrendous, I’m very apprehensive about this.

“This man (Blair) has put 179 kids to the slaughter – there’s no justice. It (the report) is not going to give me any closure or comfort.”

She added: “I’m not going down on the day, I’m not going to waste two hours of my life reading it.”

The Chilcot inquiry was set up in 2009 by then prime minister Gordon Brown after the withdrawal of the main body of British troops earlier that year.

The inquiry examined the lead up to the 2003 invasion, and the years up to the 2009 withdrawal. More than 150 witnesses gave evidence.

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