- Written by Lisa Cerda
25 May 2012
VOICES - A panel of judges, initiated by Malaysia's retired Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, called the ‘Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal’, held a symbolic trial for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors. At issue is the treatment of detainees held by the US military in Bagram, Guantanamo and Abu Gharib.
All eight were found guilty and convicted of war crimes for their authorization of torture. They were accused of a violating the Geneva Convention on torture 1949, the Convention against Torture 1984, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Charter, and the US Constitution. Their names will be written into a symbolic "Register of War Criminals."
The panel included peace activist Alfred Lambremont Webre of the United States, Judge Lamin bin Hj Mohd Yunus (President), Judge Tunku Sofiah Jewa, Judge Mohd Saari Yusuf, and Judge Salleh Buang.
Francis Boyle, an American international law professor based in Illinois, was among the prosecutors at the hearing, which followed two years of investigations by a Malaysian peace foundation founded by Mahathir that looked into complaints by people affected by the Iraqi war.
“This is the first conviction of these people anywhere in the world” Boyle stated flatly. “Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit war crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any person in execution of such a plan.”
The public hearing determined that Bush and Blair committed crimes against peace and violated international law in the Iraq invasion. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The War Crimes Tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to prosecute the accused, however their findings will be sent to the International Criminal Court, the United Nations and the Security Council. The findings cite highly documented evidence. The International Criminal Court lost the confidence of citizens of the world who expected prompt action as claims of torture were made and when the US government began widening their legal framework regarding detainees and abandoning international law.
The USA Patriot Act (signed October 26, 2001) authorized indefinite detention, a preventive paradigm, not based on crimes committed but on the likelihood of you committing a crime. The frenzied anthrax backdrop of the Patriot Act contributed to its near unanimous passage.
Anthrax mailings to several news agencies began Sept. 18, 2001 shortly after 9/11. At the time, it was believed to be a terrorist endeavor. Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, both Democrats, were sent letters on October 15th, just prior to the Patriot Act approval. Patrick Leahy was an outspoken critic of the Patriot Act, though he would vote to support it. Patrick’s letter was misdirected and discovered in an impounded bag at a government mail service.
It would be easy to argue that the anthrax scare sealed the passage of the Patriot Act as it was a direct attack on our Senators which fueled the fear and the irrational un-American passage of the Patriot Act. This was seen as a “False Flag Operation” when the list of suspects would be narrowed down to Bruce Edwards Ivins, a scientist who worked for our governments biodefense labs at Fort Detrick in Fredrick, Maryland around April of 2005. Bruce Ivins reportedly killed himself with an overdose of acetaminophen, on July 27, 2008. Anthrax took the lives of five people and infected 17 others.
Former UN Assistant Secretary General, Denis Halliday, vented his frustration at the evidence. “The UN is a weak body, and it’s corrupted by member states, who use the Security Council for their own interests. They don’t respect the charter. They don’t respect the international law. They don’t respect the Geneva Conventions,”
On May 11, they were all found guilty of “Torture and Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment of the Complainant War Crime Victims.”
Evidence included torture methods used by US soldiers; Electric shock, sexual abuse, beatings, removing fingernails with pliers, hanging weights from the genitals for long periods, solitary confinement, being used as a human shield, hung from a wall, and being hooded for months.
This is the second phase of the Tribunal. The first tribunal hearing was held in November 2011 during which Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair were found guilty for committing "crimes against peace" during the Iraq war. The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, was based on the Nuremberg Charter.
The victims of the war crimes, Abbas Abid, Moazzam Begg, Jameelah Abbas Hameedi, Ali Sh. Abbas (Alias Ali Shalal), and Rhuhel Ahmed were held without proof of guilt, in a state of legal limbo, and tortured and due reparations in the final verdict.
The chief prosecutor, Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar, said of the convictions, "The decision today by the KL War Crimes Tribunal has vindicated the integrity of international law. Its unanimous five-judges panel decision has resoundingly — like the four decisions of the US Supreme Court — declared that it is not for the president of the US to refashion international humanitarian law to suit the country’s own illegal ends. In particular the decision makes clear that the President of the US and his cohorts cannot authorize the infliction of torturous acts — in violation of international law, including the Convention on Torture and the Geneva Conventions.”
The memoirs of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were utilized and cited to the court, due to the fact the defendants did not attend the trial, or defend themselves. The eight defendants were given legal representation. Now that they have been convicted of war crimes, any country can detain them, and is obligated to capture and try them.
The verdict stated: 23.4 International Criminal Court, United Nations, Security Council – As a tribunal of conscience, the Tribunal is fully aware that its verdict is merely declaratory in nature. We have no power of enforcement, no power to impose any custodial sentence on any one or more of the 8 convicted persons. What we can do, under Article 31 of Chapter VI of Part 2 of the Charter is to recommend to the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, which we HEREBY DO, to submit this finding of conviction by the Tribunal, together with a record of these proceedings, to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.
To read more about the tribunal, including its Final Judgment, visit brusselltribunal.org.
(Lisa Cerda is a contributor to CityWatch, a community activist, Chair of Tarzana Residents Against Poorly Planned Development, and former Tarzana Neighborhood Council board member.) –cw
Tags: Lisa Cerda, war crimes, tribunal, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Guantanamo
Vol 10 Issue 42
Pub: May 25, 2012