Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dr David Kelly - new 'revelations' published

Dr David Kelly: The damning new evidence that points to a cover-up by Tony Blair’s government

By Miles Goslett and Stephen Frost

Last updated at 9:24 AM on 26th June 2010

The official story of Dr David Kelly is that he took his own life in an Oxfordshire wood by overdosing on painkillers and cutting his left wrist with a pruning knife.

He was said to be devastated after being unmasked as the source of the BBC’s claim that the Government had ‘sexed up’ the case for war in Iraq.

A subsequent official inquiry led by Lord Hutton into the circumstances leading to the death came to the unequivocal conclusion that Kelly committed suicide.

Yet suspicions of foul play still hang heavy over the death of the weapons expert whose body was found seven years ago next month in one of the most notorious episodes of Tony Blair’s premiership.

Many believe the truth about the manner of Dr Kelly’s death has never been established properly. Some even fear that the 59-year-old, the world’s leading expert in biological and chemical weapons, was murdered.

Of course, it would be easy to dismiss these sceptics as wild conspiracy theorists — but for the fact they include eminent doctors and MPs.

The blanket of secrecy thrown over the case by the last Labour Government has only fuelled the sense of mystery.

In January this year, it emerged that unpublished medical and scientific records relating to Dr Kelly’s death – including the post-mortem report and photographs of his body – had been secretly classified so as not to be made public for 70 years.

Lord Hutton, who had been appointed by Blair, was responsible for this extraordinary gagging order, yet its legal basis has baffled experts accustomed to such matters.

Against this shadowy background, we have conducted a rigorous and thorough investigation into the mystery that surrounds the death of David Kelly. And our investigation has turned up evidence which raises still more disturbing questions.

Our new revelations include the ambiguous nature of the wording on Dr Kelly’s death certificate; the existence of an anonymous letter which says his colleagues were warned to stay away from his funeral; and an extraordinary claim that the wallpaper at Dr Kelly’s home was stripped by police in the hours after he was reported missing – but before his body was found.

Until now, details of Dr Kelly’s death certificate have never been made public.

But the certificate was obtained by a group of leading doctors who have spent almost seven years investigating the case; doctors who believe it is medically implausible that he died in the manner Hutton concluded and are alarmed at the unorthodox way the death certificate was completed.

Near the top of all British death certificates is a box headed ‘Date and place of death’, in which a doctor or coroner should declare the exact location of a death, if it has been established.

Dr Kelly’s certificate gives his date of death as July 18, 2003. It then states in reference to place of death: ‘Found dead at Harrowdown Hill, Longworth, Oxon’.

Why was the word ‘found’ used? Why was the crucial question of ‘place of death’ not answered? The death certificate should be precise about the time, cause and location of death.

The doctors who have investigated the case believe the failure to answer this question leaves open the possibility that Dr Kelly died somewhere other than Harrowdown Hill, the wood where his body was discovered. If this was the case, they are concerned the law may have been subverted over Dr Kelly’s death.

Any such irregularity would inevitably add to the pressure to reopen the case. Indeed, earlier this month it was revealed that Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who have the power to undo Hutton’s 70-year gagging order and demand a coroner’s inquest into Dr Kelly’s death, are poised to re-open the case.

To this day, the location where Dr Kelly died remains a mystery — yet it is surely the most basic requirement of an investigation into any violent or unexpected death.

Nor was the question of the location of death raised at the Hutton Inquiry.

Amazingly, Chief Inspector (now Superintendent) Alan Young of Thames Valley Police, who headed the investigation into Dr Kelly’s death, did not even give evidence to the Hutton Inquiry.

Significantly, it emerged via a Freedom of Information request in 2008 that a police helicopter with heat-seeking equipment which searched for Dr Kelly on the night he disappeared did not detect his body.

At 2.50am on July 18, 2003, the helicopter flew over the exact spot where Dr Kelly’s body was found by a search party less than six hours later, at 8.30am.

Yet the pathologist who took Dr Kelly’s body temperature at 7pm on the day his body was found determined that Dr Kelly could still have been alive at 1.15am on July 18 — just 95 minutes before the helicopter flew over the patch of woodland.

If that was the case, the body would have been warm enough to be picked up by the helicopter’s heat sensors. Why didn’t the helicopter pick it up? Was it because Dr Kelly did not die where his body was found?

A full coroner’s inquest, which, by law, must be held following any sudden, unexpected or violent death, would have addressed these discrepancies.

But no full inquest was ever held.

Oxfordshire Coroner Nicholas Gardiner opened an inquest on July 21. But on August 13 the then Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, Tony Blair’s former flatmate, ordered it to be adjourned indefinitely.

Falconer used an obscure law to suspend proceedings, and for the first time in English legal history he replaced an inquest with a non-statutory public inquiry to examine a single death, seemingly without any public explanation.

When we tracked Mr Gardiner down, he refused to say whether he was ‘either happy or unhappy’ about this decision, but he did admit: ‘Public inquiries of this sort are very rare creatures. I think this was only about the third there had ever been.’

In fact, it was the fourth. Using a public inquiry to replace a coroner’s inquest – under Section 17a of the Coroner’s Act – in order to examine a death has only ever happened in three other cases. And in each case, it was where multiple deaths have occurred.

These were the incidents in which 31 people were killed in the Ladbroke Grove rail crash in 2000; the 311 deaths connected with Dr Harold Shipman; and the 36 deaths associated with the Hull trawler Gaul which sank in the Barents Sea in 1974 and whose case was re-opened in 2004.

The public was led to believe that the death of Dr Kelly would be investigated more rigorously by the Hutton Inquiry than by a coroner.

But it is now clear that the opposite was in fact true – for Hutton lacked the powers of a coroner. He could not hear evidence under oath; he could not subpoena witnesses; he could not call a jury; and he could not aggressively cross-examine witnesses.

Astonishingly, on August 18, less than three weeks into the Hutton Inquiry, which opened on August 1, Dr Kelly’s death certificate was mysteriously completed and the cause of his death officially registered as haemorrhage.

Put another way, five weeks before the Hutton Inquiry ended on September 24, 2003, and while the judge was still taking evidence about Dr Kelly’s death from witnesses, the official record of the cause of death was written and the case effectively closed.

Misleadingly, the death certificate states an inquest did take place on August 14 – even though we now know no inquest actually happened. And extraordinarily, though it bears the signature of the registrar, it is not signed by either a doctor or a coroner as every death certificate should be.

Dr Michael Powers QC, a former coroner and an expert in coroner’s law who is working to secure a full and proper inquest, said: ‘This death certificate is evidence of a failure properly to examine the cause of Dr Kelly’s death. It is evidence of a pre-judgment of the issue. In a coroner’s inquest the cause of death would not be registered until the whole inquiry had been completed. As we see here, the cause of death was registered before the Hutton Inquiry had finished.

‘This is remarkable. To my mind it is evidence that the inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death was window-dressing because the conclusion had already been determined.’

Since January 2004 a group of doctors has worked unstintingly for a fresh inquest to be held into David Kelly’s death because of the blatant shortcomings of the Hutton Inquiry.

They are radiologist Stephen Frost, trauma surgeon David Halpin, vascular surgeon Martin Birnstingl, epidemiologist Andrew Rouse and internal medicine specialist Christopher Burns-Cox. Their investigations have raised many doubts about the widespread assumption that Dr Kelly killed himself.

A letter they wrote to the Press in January 2004 marked the first time anyone had raised the possibility in the mainstream media of Dr Kelly’s death not being a suicide.

In 2009 they spent almost a year researching and writing a medical report which disputes Hutton’s assertion that Dr Kelly died from haemorrhage after severing the ulnar artery in his left wrist. The doctors argued that the wounds to Dr Kelly’s left wrist would not have caused him to bleed to death.

In January this year they discovered that Lord Hutton made the extraordinary 70-year gagging order.

Since then they have asked via their lawyers Leigh Day & Co to see the classified records, but under the last Labour Government, the Ministry of Justice – the department which holds them – repeatedly denied them access in the run-up to the last General Election. No reason was given.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who in 2007 wrote a book suggesting that Dr Kelly was murdered, used the Freedom of Information Act in January to apply to the Ministry of Justice to see the records.

His request was also denied. Using section 41 of the Act – known as an ‘absolute exemption’ – the ministry said it was not obliged to reveal the information.

Mr Baker, now a transport minister in the coalition government, has appealed against this decision. But he and the group of doctors are not the only ones who harbour suspicions about a cover-up of Dr Kelly’s death.

Only last month one of the doctors, David Halpin, received an anonymous and carefully worded letter from someone claiming to be a relative of a former colleague of David Kelly’s at the Ministry of Defence.

The correspondent said Kelly’s colleagues were ‘warned off’ attending his funeral – presumably by MoD officials, although this is not made explicit.

Similarly, in his recently published book ‘The End Of The Party’, the political commentator Andrew Rawnsley (who has close links with the Labour high command) claims that Geoff Hoon, Defence Secretary at the time of Kelly’s death, was so furious about being removed by Tony Blair as Leader of the House of Commons in May 2006 that he wrote out a resignation statement.

According to Rawnsley, ‘he planned to make a speech about the [David] Kelly affair that he told friends could trigger the instant downfall of the Prime Minister’.

Frustratingly, there are no more details in Rawnsley’s book about what Hoon was referring to – but Hoon visited Dr Kelly’s widow shortly after his death and has never publicly denied this explosive charge.

Equally inexplicable is the attitude of Dr Nicholas Hunt, the forensic pathologist who attended the scene when Dr Kelly’s body was found on Harrowdown Hill.

Dr Hunt’s duty as forensic pathologist is to help uphold the rule of law. In March 2004, after the Hutton Report was published, Dr Hunt contacted Channel 4 News and said he thought a full coroner’s inquest should be held.

Yet mysteriously, he says now that – despite contacting the TV station – he has ‘maintained a silence on this [matter] on behalf of the [Kelly] family for a very long time’.

Adding further to the case for a proper inquest is a new fascinating claim by a woman who has also worked closely with the doctors and helped Norman Baker with his book.

Rowena Thursby, a former publishing executive who became fascinated with the case and started looking into it, told us that Dr Kelly’s widow, Janice, admitted to her that on the night Dr Kelly was reported missing in July 2003 – but hours before his body was found -Thames Valley Police asked her and her daughters to leave their house and wait in the garden.

It later emerged that while the Kellys were outside, officers stripped wallpaper from their sitting room. Why would they have done that? Could they have been ‘sweeping’ his property for listening devices?

It is certainly a possibility. Despite the fact that the Labour government patronisingly dismissed him as a ‘Walter Mitty character’ and nothing more than a middle ranking official in the Ministry of Defence, Dr Kelly was arguably the world’s pre-eminent expert on biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction.

We have established that he had access to the highest levels of the security services and was cleared to see the most highly classified intelligence.

The claim that police removed wallpaper from his house has never been confirmed or denied by Thames Valley Police — they refuse to make any comments about the Kelly case.

All these new revelations add weight to the list of unanswered questions surrounding Dr Kelly’s death, such as why were no fingerprints found on the knife with which he allegedly killed himself — even though he wore no gloves.

As with the extraordinary details of the helicopter search, this vital information was only obtained using the Freedom of Information Act almost five years after the Hutton Inquiry ended. It was not heard at the inquiry.

The doctors insist that concern about Dr Kelly’s death will continue to deepen until a full coroner’s inquest is heard. If one is finally granted, many will expect Tony Blair and Lord Falconer to be called to explain under oath why they went to such lengths to avoid the normal, rigorous and respected course of this country’s law.

Until this happens their reputations will continue to suffer, as will the reputation of the British legal system. The unavoidable conclusion must be that a full coroner’s inquest is the only way the whole truth about the Kelly affair, however uncomfortable, will emerge.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Justice Secretary considers medical document release

Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Friday, 11 June 2010 17:34 UK

Ken Clarke considers releasing Kelly post-mortem file

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is considering releasing medical documents on the death of Dr David Kelly to a group of doctors demanding an inquest, the BBC understands.

The doctors have questioned Lord Hutton's 2004 verdict of suicide on the government weapons scientist.

They have been calling for material from the post-mortem to be released.

Lord Hutton requested a 70-year gagging order on it but has said he does not object to the doctors seeing it.

He said in January that the purpose of the secrecy order, made at the conclusion of his inquiry, had been to avoid causing distress to Dr Kelly's family.

'Cogent case'

He wrote to ministers in the previous Labour government to say that the report may be seen by the doctors.

Now Ken Clarke is considering whether to release the material.

In a statement, the Ministry of Justice said: "The Secretary of State will consider the full facts surrounding this issue."

Mr Clarke could decide to launch a public inquiry into Dr Kelly's death and it is understood conversations have taken place between ministers in the new coalition government, including Attorney General Dominic Grieve, about such a possibility.

When the Conservatives were in opposition, Mr Grieve backed calls for the investigation into Dr Kelly's death to be re-opened as the public "have not been reassured" by the official verdict that he killed himself.

He also praised the campaigning doctors who questioned Hutton's verdict for making a "cogent" case.


As the most senior law officer in England and Wales, he could now ask the High Court to reopen the inquest into the scientist's death.

Mr Grieve is not actively pursuing this course of action at the moment but it is thought he would do so if he was persuaded there was fresh evidence.

Transport Minister Norman Baker, a Lib Dem MP who has carried out his own investigation into Dr Kelly's death, is also reported to have been pushing government colleagues for a fresh inquiry.

Dr Kelly's body was found in woods close to his Oxfordshire home in 2003, shortly after it was revealed that he was the source of a BBC report casting doubt on the government's claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction capable of being fired within 45 minutes.

An inquest was suspended by then Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, who ruled that Lord Hutton's inquiry could take its place.

Lord Hutton's report in 2004 concluded that Dr Kelly had killed himself by cutting an artery in his wrist.

But the campaigning doctors claim there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt he killed himself.

The experts include trauma surgeon David Halpin, epidemiologist Andrew Rouse, surgeon Martin Birnstingl, former assistant coroner Dr Michael Powers QC, radiologist Stephen Frost, and Chris Burns-Cox who specialises in internal general medicine.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Melanie Phillips - Dr Kelly's 'questionable' suicide

I've long thought that Dr Kelly's 'suicide' was questionable. Now, at last, we may get some answers

By Melanie Phillips

Last updated at 10:51 PM on 6th June 2010

The death of the former Iraq weapons inspector Dr David Kelly seven years ago caused a political firestorm that profoundly destabilised the Blair government.

Dr Kelly was found dead in the woods near his home after he had been named as the source of an explosive BBC report that claimed the Government had 'sexed up' the evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

In the high-profile inquiry chaired by Lord Hutton into the circumstances surrounding Dr Kelly's death, the one thing that was never queried was the premise that he had committed suicide. This was taken as read, and many believed his 'outing' had driven him to take his own life.


Yet now the new Attorney-General Dominic Grieve has let it be known that he may order an inquiry to look again at the assumption that Dr Kelly died by his own hand. At the same time, the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is said to be considering a request to release the medical files relating to the scientist's death.

This is all very much to be welcomed as potentially shedding light on an intensely controversial event that has grown ever more murky as the years have rolled on.

It was especially puzzling, for example, that, as was revealed earlier this year, Lord Hutton quietly ensured the evidence relating to Dr Kelly's death was to remain a classified state secret until 2073.

Given that Dr Kelly had been closely involved in the most sensitive of intelligence work, it would not be surprising if certain evidence given to the inquiry in closed session was to be kept secret in order not to compromise security sources.

But Lord Hutton went much further than this and classified all the medical and scientific records connected with Dr Kelly's death, the post mortem report and photographs of his body.

This inexplicable secrecy can excite only suspicion that the authorities have something very bad indeed to hide. So an inquiry would be welcome if it kills off such speculation.

Nevertheless, such a move by the Attorney-General would raise many eyebrows. For it suggests that the real scandal over Dr Kelly was one that was totally missed in all the sound and fury of the Hutton inquiry.

Until now, those claiming Dr Kelly did not commit suicide have been regarded as off-the-wall conspiracy theorists.

Neither Mr Grieve nor Mr Clarke, however, can possibly be considered to be among their number. Moreover, it's not as if they are being forced to respond to the kind of public pressure that brought about the farcical inquest into the death of Princess Diana. There has been no widespread public disquiet over the manner of Dr Kelly's death at all. The prospect of an inquiry comes out of a clear-blue sky.

It is being mooted simply because the rational, cautious and circumspect Attorney-General is said to be concerned that the full truth about this may not have emerged.

This is particularly welcome for those of us who have long thought that Dr Kelly's presumed 'suicide' raised troubling questions that have never been satisfactorily answered - indeed, never addressed at all.

Those behind the campaign to reconsider the suicide verdict are a group of doctors who have looked at the available evidence and decided that it just doesn't stack up. The points they make are compelling - so much so that Mr Grieve has commended them for making 'an impressive and cogent case'.

For example, Dr Kelly was said to have killed himself by severing the ulnar artery in his left wrist with a blunt gardening knife, along with swallowing some 29 Coproxamol painkiller tablets.


He was said to have died either from haemorrhaging blood or a combination of cutting his wrist and taking the overdose.

But the doctors pointed out that virtually no blood was found near his body - and his stomach contained merely a fraction of one Coproxamol tablet.

Moreover, severing the ulnar artery was a very odd way to commit suicide since, they said, it was of match-stick thickness and difficult to access.

None of these concerns - and many more - was ever tested out, because the coroner's inquest where such evidence would have been heard was suspended in favour of the Hutton inquiry. And unlike an inquest, this had no statutory powers and did not require witnesses to give evidence under oath.

This all led Lib Dem MP (now Transport minister) Norman Baker to smell a rat - giving up his front-bench opposition post to investigate what had actually happened.

Mr Baker, who has a ferocious reputation for digging out politically uncomfortable truths, claimed that the police operation to investigate Dr Kelly's death had started around nine hours before the weapons expert was reported missing.

He also made public letters suggesting that the coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, had doubts about the Hutton inquiry's ability to establish the cause of death - and may have been led up the garden path.

The normal practice would be for the coroner to issue a temporary death certificate pending an official inquiry. But in this case, he issued an unprecedented full death certificate just one week after the inquiry started - and after he had held a meeting with Home Office officials.

Three years ago, Mr Baker published a book claiming that Dr Kelly had been murdered by opponents of Saddam Hussein, who feared that Dr Kelly would 'discredit' them by revealing 'misinformation' they had deliberately planted to bolster the case for war in Iraq.


In a rival claim, however, Richard Spertzel, a retired American micro-biologist who led the United Nations biological inspection team in Iraq, says evidence had emerged that Saddam was planning to attack American and European cities with deadly nerve agents placed in over-the-counter perfume bottles.

And Mr Spertzel says he was told that he and Dr Kelly, with whom he had worked closely, were numbers three and four on an Iraqi hit list.

I myself have met people familiar with the shadowy world in which Dr Kelly moved who are certain he was murdered. They are adamant that he would never have committed suicide, that he was an outstanding patriot who had done much dangerous work for his country, and that there was no shortage of foreign tyrants who might have wanted him killed because of the evidence he uncovered about their biological weapons.

Of course, all of this seems just too fantastic to be credible. Not only is it like a plot from a spy thriller, but if Dr Kelly was indeed murdered, there must have been a real conspiracy to cover this up involving police officers and pathologists, civil servants and politicians.

Yet if the Attorney-General does launch an inquiry into Dr Kelly's 'suicide', this is precisely the incredible possibility that he would be opening up.

And while it is entirely plausible that Princess Diana would not have died if she had been wearing her seat-belt, the story we have been given about the 'suicide' of Dr Kelly doesn't make any sense.

Might the truth be that the outing of David Kelly's name led not to his suicide - but to his killing?

Maybe, in the end, the truth will turn out to be more prosaic. But let us hope that Messrs Grieve and Clarke are not deflected from their intention to lay this disturbing episode finally to rest.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

New inquiry to review Kelly findings?

Tories ready to reopen Dr David Kelly suicide inquiry

By James Slack and Miles Goslett

Last updated at 8:39 AM on 5th June 2010

The investigation into the death of weapons inspector David Kelly is likely to be reopened, it has emerged.

The case has 'concerned' Attorney General Dominic Grieve and - as the highest ranking law officer in England - he is considering an inquiry to review the suicide finding, Whitehall sources say.

At the same time, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is considering a request from campaigning doctors to release medical files relating to the death.

Lord Hutton, whose inquiry into the death was denounced as a whitewash, has indicated the papers should be kept secret for 70 years.

Medical experts have repeatedly questioned whether Dr Kelly could have taken his own life in the circumstances described by Lord Hutton.

The re-opening of the case is understood to have the backing of several other Government members, including Transport minister Norman Baker, who believes Dr Kelly was murdered.

Dr Kelly's body was found in woods close to his Oxfordshire home seven years ago next month. Although a coroner's inquest was set up to examine the 59-year-old's death, it was suspended.

In its place the Government established the Hutton Inquiry. Unlike a coroner's inquest it had no statutory powers and did not require witnesses to give evidence under oath.

Hutton concluded that Dr Kelly killed himself by cutting his left wrist with a blunt gardening knife after he was named as the source of a BBC news report questioning the Blair government's grounds for invading Iraq.

But the Hutton Report, published in January 2004, was dismissed by experts as a whitewash for clearing the Government of any blame, despite evidence it had leaked Dr Kelly's name to smear him.

From the time Dr Kelly's body was found, on 18 July 2003, questions have been raised about the nature of his death. A group of leading doctors who are campaigning for a coroner's inquest to be held spent a year compiling their own medical report.

It disputes that Dr Kelly, a Ministry of Defence employee and the world's leading weapons inspector, could have died from haemorrhage, as Hutton concluded.

The doctors said it was not possible he would have died by severing the ulnar artery in his left wrist, as Hutton thought, because it is so small and difficult to access.

It also emerged after the Hutton Inquiry that no fingerprints were found on the knife Dr Kelly is alleged to have used, and that he was not wearing gloves when his

In January, it came to light that Lord Hutton secretly classified vital evidence relating to Dr Kelly's death, including all medical and scientific records, the post-mortem report and photographs, for 70 years - until 2073.

This information was not included in the Hutton Report. Mr Grieve's willingness to re-examine how Dr Kelly died comes three months after he wrote to Michael Powers QC, who has been working with the doctors to secure an inquest.

In the letter Mr Grieve said: 'I am aware of the work of the doctors' group on challenging Lord Hutton's findings.

'They have made an impressive and cogent case.'

A source confirmed his position has not changed since he entered the Government and he is exploring a way to reopen the inquiry.

As Attorney General he would be the final arbiter in any decision to apply to the High Court for a full inquest.

In January, the doctors applied to the Ministry of Justice to see Dr Kelly's post-mortem report and records. So far the MoJ has not released them.

Mr Baker told the Daily Mail: 'It's astonishing that such a high profile death has not yet been subject to a proper inquest. If the Attorney General is seeking to correct this I welcome it.'

70 years of secrecy

Lord Hutton has been criticised for ordering that medical records relating to the death of Dr David Kelly should be kept secret for 70 years.

A 30-year ban was placed on 'records provided which were not produced in evidence'.

This is thought to refer to witness statements given to the inquiry which were not disclosed at the time.

But Lord Hutton ordered all medical reports - including the post-mortem examination findings by pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt and photographs of Dr Kelly's body - to remain classified information for the seven decades.

This usually only applies in cases of murder.

The normal rules on post-mortem examinations allow close relatives and 'properly interested persons' to apply to see a copy of the report. They can also 'inspect' other documents.

The precise legal basis for Lord Hutton's order has puzzled experts.

The most likely source is a rule which states that medical reports and post-mortem reports can be classified by the Government until the deceased's youngest child is aged 100.

Dr Kelly's youngest daughters were 30 when he died. Classifying the papers for 70 years would take them to the age of 100.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Legal advice required

The Iraq Inquiry invites submissions from international lawyers

The Iraq Inquiry has asked international lawyers for their analysis of the arguments relied upon by the UK government as the legal basis for the military intervention in Iraq. Letters have been sent to international lawyers, inviting them to submit their comments to the Inquiry by 14 July.

A full copy of the invitation:

Iraq Inquiry invitation to international lawyers for submissions on the UK's legal basis for military action in Iraq

The legal basis for the military intervention in Iraq has been the subject of much comment. The Inquiry has heard evidence on this point from a number of witnesses, including Lord Goldsmith the former Attorney General and Sir Michael Wood the former Foreign Office Legal Adviser. Transcripts of such evidence can be found at: In addition, a number of government documents relating to the formulation of the legal advice have been declassified and published on the Inquiry's website.

The Inquiry is being advised on public international law by Dame Rosalyn Higgins QC. In order further to inform the Committee’s considerations, the Inquiry would be pleased to receive from public international lawyers any legal analysis they may wish to offer of the legal arguments relied upon by the UK government as set out in: the Attorney General’s advice of 7 March 2003; his written answer to a question in the House of Lords on 17 March 2003; and the FCO Memorandum "Iraq: Legal Basis for the Use of Force" of the same date.

The inquiry does not wish to focus on grounds relied on by other states. Respondents are, therefore, invited to comment on the issues of law arising from the grounds on which the government relied for the legal basis for military action, as set out in the substantive elements of the evidence given to the Inquiry and published documents. That might include:
  • the legal effect of Operative Paragraphs 1, 4, 11 and 12 of UNSCR 1441;

  • the significance of the phrase “consider” in Operative Paragraph 12 of SCR 1441;

  • whether by virtue of UN Security Council Resolutions 678, 687 and 1441, the elements were in place for a properly authorised use of force;

  • the interpretation and effect of the statements made by the Permanent Members of the Security Council following the unanimous vote on UNSCR 1441;

  • the correct approach to the interpretation of Security Council Resolutions;

  • Lord Goldsmith’s evidence that the precedent was that a reasonable case was a sufficient lawful basis for taking military action.
Submissions should be confined to issues as described in the preceding paragraphs and should not exceed 3000 words. They should be sent by email to: entitled International Law Submission; or by post to: Iraq Inquiry, 35 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BG. Submissions should reach the Inquiry by 14 July 2010. The Iraq Inquiry reserves the right to publish submissions.