The Hague, September 3, 2012 (FH) - In an Op-ed published on September 2 on The Observer website, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for Tony Blair and George Bush to be hauled before the international criminal court in The Hague because of their role in Iraq war.

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The Nobel Peace prize winner accuses the former British and US leaders of lying about weapons of mass destruction and says the invasion left the world more destabilized and divided "than any other conflict in history". Claiming that more than 110,000 people died in the Iraq war, he added:  “In a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague”.

According to the South-African priest, “the immorality of the United States and Great Britain’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilized and polarized the world a greater extent than any other conflict in history”.

Last week, Tutu refused to attend a conference on leadership in Johannesburg because Tony Blair, who was paid for his time, was attending.

“Leadership and morality are indivisible. Good leaders are the custodians of morality. The question is not whether Saddam Hussein was good or bad or how many of his people he massacred. The point is that Mr Bush and Mr Blair should not have allowed themselves to stoop to his immoral level.”, Desmond Tutu concluded.

In a statement released on his website, Blair strongly contested Tutu's views and said Iraq was now a more prosperous country than it had been under Saddam Hussein. "I have a great respect for Archbishop Tutu's fight against apartheid – where we were on the same side of the argument – but to repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence is completely wrong as every single independent analysis of the evidence has shown”, Blair said.

 Sir John Chilcot’s Iraq War inquiry - set up in July 2009 - has been questioning Tony Blair twice about his role in Great-Britain’s implication in Iraq. Its conclusions are expected next year. SM/ER/GF