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An attempt to prosecute former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for alleged war crimes has been blocked by the UK High Court.

Al Rabbat, represented by human rights barrister Michael Mansfield QC, had also wanted to prosecute former foreign secretary Jack Straw and former attorney general Lord Goldsmith.

He then sought a judicial review in an attempt to get the Supreme Court - the UK's highest court - to overturn a 2006 House of Lords ruling that there is no such crime as the crime of aggression under the law of England and Wales.

In today's judgment, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, and Mr Justice Ouseley dismiss the application.

On behalf of the claimant, a general of the Iraqi army, it was argued that the crime of aggression should be considered as part of the domestic common law, having been incorporated at least since 1945 when the International Military Tribunal at Nuremburg commenced the prosecution of Nazi war criminals in the wake of World War II. The International Criminal Court has, however, been unable to exercise jurisdiction over the crime, and international law is at present unable to bring the guilty to account.

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, stands with British troops in Basra, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006.

The English High Court on Monday ruled that it was bound by a previous decision by a higher court that there was no such crime as the "crime of aggression".

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After the ruling, a spokesman at the Attorney General's Office in London said: "It should be for Parliament, and not the courts, to create new criminal offences".

Wright intervened in the case and his legal team urged the Lord Chief Justice to block the challenge.

Mansfield told the court: "Nothing could be more emphatic than this evidence".

Lawyers for Al Rabbat had argued that last year's publication of findings by the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war had provided new grounds for prosecuting Blair.

But in a brief hearing, the lord chief justice, Lord Thomas, said that "there is no crime of aggression under United Kingdom domestic law and there is no prospect of the supreme court reversing that decision".

But issues that had arisen "on the global plane" did not justify departing from "the clear principle that it is for Parliament and Parliament alone" to decide the issue on a domestic level.


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