Iraq invasion 'had no legal mandate', Dutch inquiry finds

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The invasion of Iraq had no sound mandate under international law, according to the Dutch inquiry into the war released this morning.

In a devastating rejection of the position of the British and Dutch governments, the inquiry, led by the former head of the Netherlands' Supreme Court, decided that the United Nations resolutions did not provide a legal basis for the use of force.

Dutch ministers were further criticised in the report of the Davids Commission, which sat for ten months, for using intelligence from Britain and the US that showed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), rather than the "more nuanced" assessment of its own secret services.

The eagerly awaited assessment cleared the Dutch Government of Jan Peter Balkenende of providing active military support to the invasion of March 2003. It said that it could find no evidence to support rumours that Dutch Special Forces helped the US-led attack on Iraq, a claim which has been repeatedly denied by Mr Balkenende, whose Government gave political but not military support to the invasion.

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