Following the end of negotiations in the United Nations on a further Security Council resolution, the Legal Secretary to the Attorney General wrote to the Private Secretary to the Prime Minister on 14 March 2003 seeking confirmation that: . . . it is unequivocally the Prime Minister’s view that Iraq has committed further material breaches as specified in paragraph 4 of resolution 1441.
The Prime Minister’s Private Secretary replied to the Legal Secretary on 15 March, confirming that:
. . . it is indeed the Prime Minister’s unequivocal view that Iraq is in further material breach of its obligations,as in OP4 18 of UNSCR 1441,because of ‘false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq to comply with,and co-operate fully in the implementation of,this resolution’.
We have been told that, in coming to his view that Iraq was in further material breach, the Prime Minister took account both of the overall intelligence picture and of information from a wide range of other sources, including especially UNMOVIC information.
The Attorney General set out his view of the legal position to the Cabinet on 17 March, by producing and speaking to the Written Answer he gave to Parliament on that date: Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: What is the Attorney General’s view of the legal basis for the use of force against Iraq. The Attorney General: Authority to use force against Iraq exists from the combined effect of Resolutions 678,687 and 1441. All of these resolutions were adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter which allows the use of force for the express purpose of restoring international peace and security:
In Resolution 678,the Security Council authorised force against Iraq, to eject it from Kuwait and to restore peace and security in the area.
In Resolution 687,which set out the ceasefire obligations after Operati on Desert Storm,the Security Council imposed continuing obligations on Ira q to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction in order to restore international peace and security in the area. Resolution 687 suspended but did not terminate the authority to use force under Resolution 678.
A material breach of Resolution 687 revives the authority to use force under Resolution 678.
In Resolution 1441,the Security Council determined that Iraq has been a nd remains in material breach of Resolution 687,because it has not fully complied with its obligations to disarm under that resolution.
The Security Council in Resolution 1441 gave Iraq “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” and warned Iraq of the “serious consequences” if it did not.
Operative Paragraph 4 of the resolution.