Human rights lawyers have claimed that the UK had no legal case for its 2003 invasion of Iraq, in a submission to the Chilcot Inquiry seen by the Gazette.

The Solicitors International Human Rights Group found fault with the UK government’s two main justifications for the invasion, in a written submission to Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry into the Iraq conflict.

The first was that a 2002 UN Security Council Resolution ‘revived’ the authority to use force against Iraq provided by an earlier resolution. The submission’s authors said that this earlier resolution did not give an ‘open-ended authority to use force in respect of any resolution enacted at a later date’, and so could not be used to provide authority for the invasion.

The government’s second justification for the invasion was that the 2002 resolution gave Iraq a ‘final opportunity’ to comply with its disarmament obligations or face the consequences. The submission’s authors pointed to statements made at the time of the resolution’s adoption that it was for the Security Council, and not member states, to determine whether Iraq had made use of that ‘final opportunity’, and whether action should be taken. The resolution did not allow for a prolonged military intervention or regime change, the submission contends.