Saturday, September 8, 2012
Margo MacDonald ropes in SNP MSPs in Scottish bid to charge Blair with war crimes, you can’t create a new criminal offence retrospectively!
It really does seem that the wheels are coming off the Scottish National Party.
Alex Salmond is facing pressure from his own MSPs to change the law in an attempt to prosecute former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The reason for this is Blair’s role in the Iraq War almost a decade ago.
I have blogged in the past about a lack of talent in the SNP which is now bubbling to the surface, yesterday I was blogging on how ‘shit talk’ is becoming all the rage at the moment.
And this is definitely shit talk.
Some SNP MSPs have got behind a motion by Independent Margo MacDonald urging the Scottish Government to legislate “so that Tony Blair could be brought to trial in Scotland”.
I think Margo MacDonald is a crank, she shouldn’t be in parliament as far as I am concerned; her time was up long ago, she doesn’t know it.
Her right to die bill attempt rightly was thrown out by Holyrood, although I believe Holyrood benefits from a rainbow parliament, I don’t think it benefits from her presence.
The MacDonald’s motion urges her colleagues to back the view the war was illegal and for the incorporate into Scots criminal law the principle of international law which makes “aggressive war with intention of regime change” illegal.
Edinburgh Southern MSP Jim Eadie said yesterday:
“Waging an aggressive war is illegal under international law. There has long been a case to answer about Britain’s military action in Iraq, which was motivated by regime change, not the dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction. I think we need a debate about whether Scots law can be changed in order to bring Tony Blair to trial. There is a prima facie case that he broke international law and it has been argued that it would require a small change to Scots law to allow him to be tried here.”
“If this is possible it would command widespread support, not just in Scotland but from people across the UK who remain angered that Britain was taken to war and many lives were lost on a false premise. We know the fiction of weapons of mass destruction was created because the UK Government could not be open about their desire for regime change in Iraq.”
With rising problems in the Scottish National Party, perhaps the party whips should be a bit more active at sitting on people like this.
And the increasingly odd former police officer John Finnie, now a Highlands and Islands MSP, said:
“There is huge sympathy for the view that war criminals and I include Tony Blair in that – should face justice.” He added of the motion: “Whether it is legally possible or not, it is a laudable aspiration.”
This demonstrates a clear lack of understanding about foreign relations by many in the SNP beyond their provincial aspirations.
Others dragged into this nonsense are SNP MSPs Annabelle Ewing, Gordon MacDonald, and Chic Brodie.
Dr James Sloan, a lecturer in international criminal law at Glasgow University has therefore had to step in to educate the dense.
He opines that it could be problematic to prosecute Tony Blair in Scotland.
“The crime of aggression isn’t in existence within the existing treaty for the ICC, so effectively they would be going beyond the remit of the act. The treaty does make reference to the crime of aggression, but it’s not currently prosecutable. When they drew up the treaty they couldn’t agree on how to define aggression.
“Then in 2010, they did define it but provided that the crime would not be enforceable until 2017 and even then it will only be enforceable if a number of parties agree to it. You could argue that doesn’t preclude the Scottish government from introducing a statute making illegal the crime of aggression, but they would run into trouble trying to introduce retrospective legislation.
“It’s considered unfair to retrospectively make it illegal to do something that the person didn’t know was a crime at the time.”
In other words Margo MacDonald is talking out her arse, and she has managed to flush out a few simple minded people in the SNP to back her.
To home in on Sloan’s point, “It’s considered unfair to retrospectively make it illegal to do something that the person didn’t know was a crime at the time.”
And a key part of Scottish Law is mens rea which in this case cannot be proved because there is no evidence to back their case and the UK Government will not be opening up the UK Government archives to Holyrood for a witch hunt.
Christine O’Neill, convener of the Law Society of Scotland’s constitutional law committee said it would be more unusual, and contrary to legal principle and possibly the European Convention on Human Rights to create a new criminal offence retrospectively.
Bottom line, you can’t create a new criminal offence retrospectively which pretty much shows how low brow some people are, you just can’t take some people seriously in Holyrood.
Shit talk, it really is the new Holyrood craze!
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University