Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Conflict over legality of launching an attack against Iraq

The Times - March 19th 2003

Sir,

I believe legal authority exists for an attack on Iraq without further explicit authority.

Security Council Resolution 1441 refers to earlier binding Chapter VII resolutions, including 678 (1990).

Resolution 678 authorizes Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait, unless Iraq on or before 15 January 1991 fully implements, as set forth in paragraph 1 above, the above-mentioned resolutions, to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area.

One of those above-mentioned resolutions, 674, required Iraq not to mistreat and oppress Kuwaiti and third-state nationals and to respect the Fourth Geneva Convention. Thousands of Kuwaitis remain unaccounted for and many are believed to be held still in Iraq. It is, therefore, more than arguable that Iraq failed to comply fully with Resolution 678, and that the authority to restore peace and security in the area remains in force.

Finally, it is important to note that many of those arguing that this war would be illegal, including Clare Short, appear to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia regarding their support for a war in Kosovo which had no Security Council authority of any kind and in which the number of casualties paled beside the number of those who have died at the hands of Saddam Hussein.

Yours faithfully,

Charles Tannock
Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman in the European Parliament