This photo, taken on July 6, 2016, shows former Prime Minister Tony Blair addresses a news conference in London following the outcome of the Iraq Inquiry report. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Stefan Rousseau)
LONDON, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The High Court in London blocked an attempt on Monday by a former Iraqi army general to have former British prime minister Tony Blair prosecuted for a war crime, local media reported.
Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat, who served as chief of staff of the Iraqi army, alleged that Blair and two of his ministers had committed the crime of aggression by invading Iraq in 2003 to overthrow President Saddam Hussein.
Al Rabbat had also wanted to prosecute against Jack Straw, who served as foreign secretary in Blair's Labour government, and the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith.
His lawyers, led by British barrister Michael Mansfield, asked the High Court for permission to seek a judicial review in an attempt to get the British Supreme Court to overturn a ruling by the House of Lords in 2006 that there is no such crime as the crime of aggression under English and Welsh law.
The judges, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, and Justice Ouseley, dismissed the general's application, on the grounds there was no chance of the case succeeding.
The British attorney general Jeremy Wright had earlier intervened in the case on behalf of the British government, calling on the High Court to block the challenge on the grounds that it was "hopeless."
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. This principle was upheld when the House of Lords ruled in 2006 that the crime of aggression does not exist in English law. In this legal challenge, we argued that this remains the case today and the courts agreed."
The court centered on the invasion in 2003 when British forces joined the U.S.-led coalition to overthrow Hussein, after then U.S. president George W Bush and Blair accused Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction.
The invasion led to a lengthy inquiry in Britain led by John Chilcot, who ruled the invasion had not been the "last resort" presented to members of parliament as well as the public. Chilcot's report ruled Blair had overstated the threat posed by Hussein.
Later, the Guardian newspaper in London published a response to the ruling by Al Rabbat's lawyer, Imran Khan, the solicitor who represented the general.
According to the Guardian newspaper, Khan said: "(He) is extremely disappointed with the judgment of the high court in London which brings to an end the hope of prosecuting Tony Blair, Jack Straw, and Peter Goldsmith for the crime of aggression in invading Iraq in 2003.
"The invasion and subsequent occupation resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of individuals as well as the displacement of over four million others including General al-Rabbat who has had to seek sanctuary and refuge in another country.
"Iraq has been left decimated and in a state of chronic instability. Despite all of this, and the clear findings of the Chilcot inquiry which laid bare the conduct of those that should be held to account, the high court has confirmed that there is to be no accountability. Those responsible are to remain unpunished. This is not justice."