Though they talk by phone every day, Blair said he wanted face time with Bush to discuss how to rebuild a post-Saddam Iraq, and to explore ways of rebuilding US-Europe relations left in tatters in the run-up to war. "I am clear that the United Nations (news - web sites) must be centrally involved" not just in humanitarian relief as the war rages, but in rebuilding Iraq after the guns fall silent, he told a Downing Street press conference. Blair said he leave Wednesday after his mid-day question period in the House of Commons for Washington, from where he would immediately go to Bush's retreat at Camp David, Maryland for talks Wednesday night and Thursday. Later Thursday, he said, he would go to New York to see Annan, before flying back to London. "I will see president Bush at Camp David to discuss not just the military campaign but also the diplomatic implications of recent events for the future -- in particular how we get America and Europe working again together as partners and not as rivals," Blair said. The snap war summit would also "assess the best way of dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Iraq... how we rebuild Iraq post-Saddam, and also, of course, our approach to the Middle East peace process." Blair has been Bush's staunchest ally in the showdown with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) over weapons of mass destruction, sending 45,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen, 120 tanks, a naval task force and 100-plus warplanes to join the US-led war. Opposition among Britons to war clearly appeared to be waning on day six of the fighting, with a poll in the Guardian newspaper Tuesday suggesting that 54 percent approved of a military attack to oust Saddam. On February 14, the figure had been 52 percent against. Britain suffered its second known combat fatality Monday when a member of Scotland's famed Black Watch regiment was killed in fighting near al-Zubayr, southwest of Basra. The first British soldier to die, a member of the Royal Tank Regiment, was killed in the same area Sunday, and two remain listed as missing. Fourteen other Britons died in two helicopter accidents, and two airmen perished when their Tornado bomber was hit by a US missile. Coalition commanders say Iraqi "irregulars" loyal to Saddam have been resisting British forces around Basra, but Blair insisted Tuesday that, overall, the invasion is going to plan. "It's precisely what you'd expect... These people are going to fight," he said, adding: "We have the forces that we need to do the job." In his first press conference since Bush launched the war Thursday with a volley of air strikes, Blair pledged that, unlike in the 1991 war to free Kuwait, the US-led coalition would not let the Iraqi people down. "My message to them is that this time we will not let you down. Saddam and his regime will be removed. Iraq will have a better future," the prime minsiter said. Warning the British people that the war is far from over, Blair said US, British and other forces would face "resistance all the way to the end of this campaign." "It will take time and perseverance and the continuing skill and dedication and professionalism of our armed forces to break it down," he said. Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 17:54 GMT Email this to a friend Printable version Blair promises to back Iraqi people Tony Blair to meet George Bush Tony Blair has promised the Iraqi people that US-led coalition forces "will not let you down" as UK troops began firing in support of an apparent uprising in Basra. At his monthly news conference ahead of the assault on troop positions in the southern Iraqi city, Mr Blair said the military campaign had already achieved a "huge amount". He pledged: "Saddam Hussein and his regime will be removed. Iraq will have a better future ahead of it." Mr Blair said the Iraqi people were wary of rising up against Saddam Hussein's regime after the failure to remove the dictator following the Gulf War in 1991. He was speaking after fierce resistance from paramilitaries in Basra claimed a second British soldier's life. And coalition forces continued to advance on Baghdad - although delayed by fierce sandstorms - where they were expecting to meet extremely strong military opposition. Mr Blair also confirmed that he will fly to meet US President George Bush on Wednesday. The prime minister's spokesman said the discussions would centre on Iraq post-Saddam rather than on military strategy which had already been decided. Mr Blair is also due to hold talks with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Thursday. LATEST FROM NEWSWEEK • Special war section • Q&amp;A on smart weapons Who Will Try Iraqi War Criminals? By Ed Finn Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2003, at 3:19 PM PT&nbsp;<br>
In his speech to the nation Monday, President Bush promised that Iraqi war criminals would be tried and punished—but he didn't specify which criminals or in which court they would be tried. Which Iraqis will be tried, and who will judge them? The answers depend largely on the outcome of the war, once it's clear who's still alive to stand trial. Most experts agree that war-crimes trials will be limited to indictments against a small fraction of the thousands of likely suspects, since wiping out Iraq's government infrastructure (on top of its economic and military infrastructure) will make it that much harder to build a new state. In fact, the U.S. government has kept its official list of Iraqi war criminals extremely short, even though hundreds of officials have been implicated in the use of chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds in 1988. It's likely that only the top echelons of the military will be tried—perhaps 50 people, perhaps more, depending on who you ask and whether or not local commanders fight. (If they surrender, they might escape prosecution.) For the invading Americans, "who" is tried is almost less important than "how," because these trials give the United States a much-needed chance to exhibit fairness and restraint after initiating a war. Possible trial venues include: International Criminal Court: This one can probably be ruled out—neither the U.S. nor Iraq ever agreed to it. Ironically, it might be legally possible to try British or Australian troops in the ICC for war crimes if they commit any atrocities, since their nations are signatories. U.N. ad hoc tribunal: This is a special international court that has to be mandated by the Security Council—recent examples include courts created to try war criminals from the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Considering the intense misgivings fellow Security Council members like France and Russia have about the war, it is unlikely that the United States will ask them to create a tribunal. And even if they did, there's another snag if the blue helmets show up—no U.N. court can sentence a war criminal to death. U.S. federal courts: Under the War Crimes Act of 1996, war crimes by or against U.S. citizens can be prosecuted in American federal courts. This option also seems unlikely, however, because many of the crimes likely to be prosecuted involve Iraqi officials assaulting their own citizens. Local Iraqi courts: These might do for small-fry Baath loyalists. After all, the United States will be trying to create a respectable criminal justice system in Iraq, and war criminals would provide useful fodder to get things rolling. But it's unlikely that any of the regime's kingpins would face a local court, since there would be too many opportunities for political skullduggery and old allegiances to taint the process. Hybrid courts: All the rage since their success in Sierra Leone, hybrid courts bring together a combination of local and international jurists. The idea is to mix the grass-roots appeal of civil courts with the respectability and fence-mending powers of international courts. This option also allows the United States to involve European jurists without having to go through the United Nations. The flexibility of a hybrid court will be attractive to post-Iraq planners not because of its appeal to international justice but because it will allow the United States to better trade amnesty for information while still satisfying world opinion. Say the United States invades Iraq and raids all the bunkers and palaces but doesn't find weapons of mass destruction or Saddam Hussein. In that case, the post-war administration's first priority will be to pump Iraq's surviving officials for information—a process that could carry over to war crimes courts. If you're wondering what war crimes are, Explainer has covered this before. Next question? Explainer thanks Ruth Wedgwood, professor of International Law and Diplomacy at John Hopkins University and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; David Phillips, deputy director of the Center for Preventative Action and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Reed Brody, special counsel for Human Rights Watch. of statistics and facts on topics at home and abroad. Barnes &amp; Noble&nbsp;<br>
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