Dutch committee presents report on 2003 Iraq war
The independent committee tasked with investigating the Dutch governments' backing for the US-led war in Iraq in 2003 presented its report Tuesday, DPA reported.
Willibrord Davids, the retired Supreme Court judge who headed the six-member committee, emphasized it had "done its work in absolute and complete freedom", "unhindered" by the government.
Davids said the committee, which had investigated all circumstances over the year-long period that ended with the decision in 2003, had made every effort to present only the "facts", leaving interpretation up to others.
In a first response, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said he "appreciated" the committee's hard work.
He also noted it was the first time ever that an investigative committee had been given access even to the records of weekly cabinet meetings as part of its investigation.
No government officials, including Balkenende, were allowed to read the report ahead of its release.
The Netherlands was one of the few western European countries to support the war in Iraq under Saddam Hussein in 2003. The decision sparked a political upheaval and controversy that still lingers.
While investigations on involvement in the Iraq invasion were conducted years ago in the United States and Britain, it was only in February 2009 that Balkenende ordered an independent inquiry.