September 13, 2012


“If leaders may lie, then who shall tell the truth?” – angry, and with good reason? Desmond Tutu appears to suggest ICC should try Blair.

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Desmond Tutu appears to suggest Blair, Bush to be tried by ICC

Desmond Tutu appears to suggest Blair, Bush to be tried by ICC

Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner, former Archbishop of Cape Town and hero of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, is a man who when he speaks, even in retirement, people listen. So when he recently pulled out of the ‘Discovery Invest Leadership Conference’ in Johannesburg because of the presence of another guest speaker, former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in effect suggesting he should be in front of the International Criminal Court at The Hague, it did not go unnoticed.


In a hard-hitting article in the British newspaper The Guardian, Desmond Tutu accused Blair and former US President George W. Bush, of invading Iraq in 2003 on the basis of a lie, namely that Iraq, under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, possessed ‘weapons of mass destruction’ when by the time of the invasion they knew that they did not.

“If leaders may lie, then who shall tell the truth?” posed Desmond Tutu in the article. ‘Leadership and morality are indivisible’, he added.


He argued that the result of the war in Iraq, even though it removed a ‘despotic and murderous leader’, has been the deaths of more than 110,000 Iraqis, with on average 6.5 more dying every day in ‘suicide attacks’, and the deaths of 4,500 US soldiers with more than 32,000 wounded.

The death toll during and since the conflict was not the only sad result of the war pointed to by Desmond Tutu.

The decision of Bush and Blair to go to war has ‘driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand’, he argued, ‘with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us’.

‘Has the potential for terrorist attacks decreased?’, he also asked, and ‘To what extent have we succeeded in bringing the so-called Muslim and Judeo-Christian worlds closer together, in sowing the seeds of understanding and hope?’


Desmond Tutu posed one more question: ‘On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go to the criminal court [but] Mr Blair should join the international speakers circuit?’ Provocative stuff indeed.


Perhaps part of the answer to the last question lies in an examination of the ‘open’ and ‘official’ cases currently being considered by the ICC.

In the 10 years since the ICC was established it has received complaints of alleged crimes in 139 countries. Its ‘open’ and ‘official cases’ apply in just seven countries. They are: Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR), Dafur (Sudan), Libya, Cote d’Ivoire and of course, Kenya.

Kenya Forum readers are invited to consider the map above where the seven countries are coloured in green.

Spot the common denominator?


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