|"Tony Blair has strongly contested Archbishop Desmond Tutu's views." (Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)|
The court hears cases on genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. To date, 16 cases have been brought before the court but only one, that of Thomas Lubanga, a rebel leader from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has been completed. He was sentenced earlier this year to 14 years' imprisonment for his part in war crimes in his home country. Tutu's broadside is evidence of the shadow still cast by Iraq over Blair's post-prime ministerial career, as he attempts to rehabilitate himself in British public life. A longtime critic of the Iraq war, the archbishop pulled out of a South African conference on leadership last week because Blair, who was paid 2m rand (£150,000) for his time, was attending. It is understood that Tutu had agreed to speak without a fee. In his article, the archbishop argues that as well as the death toll, there has been a heavy moral cost to civilisation, with no gain. 'Even greater costs have been exacted beyond the killing fields, in the hardened hearts and minds of members of the human family across the world. Has the potential for terrorist attacks decreased? 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?' Blair and Bush, he says, set an appalling example. 'If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth?' he asks. 'If it is acceptable for leaders to take drastic action on the basis of a lie, without an acknowledgement or an apology when they are found out, what should we teach our children?' [...]"