Parliament must summons De Hoop Scheffer over Iraq war report

26 January 2010

Parliament must summons De Hoop Scheffer over Iraq war report

According to SP member of Parliament Harry van Bommel, Parliament must interview former Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in public in relation to the Davids Commission report, which found that the government of which De Hoop Scheffer was a member, acted unlawfully in supporting the US-UK attack on Iraq in 2003. Van Bommel's statement came in reaction to this morning's pronouncements from the former minister, who went on to head NATO, during the radio programme Dit is de Dag ('This is the day'). “The Davids Commission concluded that the decision to support the attack on Iraq was based in the first instance on 'Atlantic solidarity'" says Van Bommel. "If De Hoop Scheffer denies this he is denying at the same time the Commission's core findings. Parliament cannot ignore the views of this directly involved former minister and should interview him publicly."

Former minister Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, who was in office at the time of the attack on Iraq in 2003, said during the radio programme that the Netherlands was not simply coat-tailing the United States when it took the decision to offer political support. The SP believes that with this statement De Hoop Scheffer is distancing himself from one of the Davids Commission report's most important conclusions and that he must therefore be called before Parliament.

As the meeting which Parliament held with the Davids Commission revealed that the Commission had wanted to interview dozens more people, but had been unable to do so due to a lack of time, the SP is proposing the holding of a prolonged hearing where military personnel could be amongst those called to speak, the Davids Commission having interviewed only the most senior soldiers. In Van Bommel's view, lower ranks should also be interviewed, and he intends to propose to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs that it hold a hearing in part to enable this. The SP proposal follows an earlier move by the PvdA (Labour Party), which was not in government in 2003, to have former defence minister Henk Kamp, called to speak on the matter.

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