Greek lawyers take on Blair

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A GREEK lawyers’ group accused the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and other British officials yesterday of "crimes against humanity" for their role in the Iraq war.

The claims, which were dismissed as "groundless" by Downing Street, were contained in a complaint the Athens Bar Association plans to file with the International Criminal Court.

The group said it was considering similar action against the Spanish prime minister, Jos Maria Aznar, who also backed the US-led campaign.

The bar association listed Mr Blair, the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, and others for "crimes against humanity and war crimes" as well as violations of international law, human rights and a number of treaties.

The group felt an "ethical and juristic responsibility" to seek action from the new International Criminal Court, a statement said.

But a Downing Street spokesman said: "As we have made clear on a number of occasions, the British government have acted in accordance with international law."

The association’s document excluded the United States, which has challenged the court’s jurisdiction over Americans.

The court, inaugurated in March and backed by both Spain and the UK, is charged with intervening only when a country is unable or lacks the political will to carry out a trial.

Greece saw many anti-war protests during the conflict. Although the governing Socialists openly backed the demonstrations, they permitted US forces to continue using a base on Crete during the war.