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Andrew Williams publishes 'Chilcot Report: Law' in The Political Quarterly

Centre co-director Prof Andrew Williams recently published an article on Chilcot Report: Law in The Political Quarterly based on his ongoing research on the Iraq investigations.


Questions of law permeate the Chilcot Report. All are shrouded in uncertainty. From the constitutional relationship between Prime Minister, Cabinet and Parliament to the legality of going to war, the Inquiry presided over by Sir John Chilcot touched upon many controversial legal issues. It resolved none. But then, it was not a court of law or a judicial inquiry, and never pretended to be. No one could have reasonably expected it to pronounce with conviction any judgement on the lawfulness of acts and decisions made by those who took the UK to war in Iraq. Instead, the Report provides information useful for those who wish to reach such judgements. Lawyers are already searching the vast document to inspire possible litigation, though that was not the concern of the Inquiry. It was supposed to determine what happened and learn lessons. Those were its very broad terms of reference.

But did the Inquiry deal effectively or properly with the legal issues which framed many of the decisions and actions it examined? In this article I look briefly at two key areas where law had particular relevance but, it is argued, received insufficient attention: the legal basis for going to war; and the conduct of the occupation after the initial hostilities were concluded. Both involve the application of international legal standards—a slippery subject for those seeking exactitude, but valuable for judging the political and military leaders nonetheless.

Tue 29 Nov 2016, 16:46 | Tags: Access to Justice, torture, andrew williams

New Lacuna edition: Telling stories of the vulnerable and marginalised

Lacuna returns after a summer break with a series of articles which give voice to vulnerable and marginalised individuals and communities.

In our lead article, “Hear No Evil See No Evil: The UK and the Iraq Allegations“, Andrew Williams tells the story of widespread allegations of abuses by British soldiers in Iraq. The front pages of the national newspapers have been full of the allegations in recent weeks and months. But they only tell a partial story.

We also tell a less well-known story: photojournalist Ángel López Soto and journalist Eva Mateo Asolas report on the human cost of the drought for women in Ethiopia, in two linked articles which tell the story in pictures and in words.

Finally in this edition, Sharifah Sekalala reflects on a recent UK High Court decision which opened the way to providing preventive treatment for both gay men and sex workers at risk of HIV infection in England.

REMINDER: Call for submissions on Environmental migration - deadline 30th November 2016

Tue 27 Sep 2016, 13:11 | Tags: torture, environment, Ethiopia, Lacuna

Newsweek Cover Story by Andrew Williams: Torture and The British Army

An investigation by Prof. Andrew Williams, Centre co-director, is the cover story for Newsweek. The piece entitled "British Soldiers Accused of Torture and Abuse During Iraq Occupation" documents the widespread allegations against British soldiers in Iraq and questions whether the current investigations into those allegations are sufficient to produce meaningful change.

Andrew Williams is the Orwell prize winner for political writing for his book "A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa"

Mon 12 Jan 2015, 17:46 | Tags: torture