UK High Court rules to continue government corruption investigations

img Justice over MoneyIt’s a stunning victory for the activist groups and in their today’s ruling the two UK High Court judges, with unusually harsh wording that in parts can only be described as scathing criticism of the Blair administration, have declared the stop of investigations by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into corruption within a GBP 43 Billion (USD 88 Billion) arms deal between UK’s BAE and Saudi Arabia as unlawful.

The decisions of the SFO and the UK Attorney General to drop the case were due to massive political pressure from PM Blair and his administration. The decision to drop the case two years ago also prompted the OECD to start an investigation into international corruption.

I guess (sadly) that no-one these days will be surprised anymore that the argument used by PM Blair to defend the interferences with the law was of course the general excuse / Catch-22 matters of national security“.

Nevertheless the judges today have stood up for the right of prosecutors to be independent and not subjected to political pressure.

You can read a general overview of the case here and a more in depth analysis here but we would like to share two quotes from the ruling with you. (full text of the ruling on the Guardian web site as PDF)

“…No-one, whether within this country or outside is entitled to interfere with the course of our justice. It is the failure of Government and the defendant to bear that essential principle in mind that justifies the intervention of this court…”

“…No one suggested to those uttering the threat that it was futile, that the United Kingdom’s system of democracy forbad pressure being exerted on an independent prosecutor whether by the domestic executive or by anyone else; no-one even hinted that the courts would strive to protect the rule of law and protect the independence of the prosecutor by striking down any decision he might be tempted to make in submission to the threat…”

One can just hope that the US will have similar courageous judges that will stand up against political pressure now and in the years to come.

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