Last week, in a trial held in Kuala Lumpur, former US President George W. Bush and several of his key administration members were convicted of war crimes. The tribunal was led by retired Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. After the guilty verdict reached by five senior judges was delivered, Mahathir Mohamad said: “Powerful countries are getting away with murder.”
After a week filled with testimony, personal statements and deliberations, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, a five-person panel announced their guilty verdict. This verdict will be filed with the Commission’s Register of War Criminals to be made public record.
Among George W. Bush were named:
• Dick Cheney, former Vice President
• Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense
During the trial, witnesses gave accounts of torture carried out by US soldiers and contracted mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moazzam, ex-Guantanamo detainee and Abbas Hameedi, an Iraqi woman testified as to the torture they personally endured at Abu Ghraib.
The prosecution proved that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld acted together to methodically torture prisoners as an established standard. Others who were working for the Bush administration included CIA officials, lawyers and military commanders that were following senior advisors orders. To achieve their goals, the most suffering was inflicted against prisoners captured. The “intelligence” from those tortured was highly suspect and completely unreliable. Francis Boyle, professor of international law and war crimes expert was in attendance at the trial and part of the prosecution team.
Boyle commented: “This is the first conviction of these people anywhere in the world.” Boyle went on to say that he hoped Bush and Cheney would find themselves in similar trials across the world. “We tried three times to get Bush in Canada but were thwarted by the Canadian Government, then we scared Bush out of going to Switzerland. The Spanish attempt failed because of the government there and the same happened in Germany.” Boyle made references to the Nuremberg trials, comparing them to the tribunal in Malaysia. Boyle also said that he was nearly certain that the trial was being surveyed by the Pentagon and White House officials.
Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar, who headed the prosecution said: “The tribunal was very careful to adhere scrupulously to the regulations drawn up by the Nuremberg courts and the International Criminal Courts”.
Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd Yunus Lamin, the president of the tribunal, made the final statements at the end of the trial. Lamin remarked that although the tribunal has no power of enforcement, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission will submit the verdict to the Chief Prosecutor of the Internaitonal Criminal Court and the UN and their Security Council. Lamin would like to see the verdict be made public and publicized “accordingly” for the entire world to know.
Moazzam Begg is now the director for a London-based human rights advocacy group called the Cageprisoners. Begg was happy with the verdict and said:
When people talk about Nuremberg you have to remember those tried were all prosecuted after the war. Right now Guantanamo is still open, people are still being held there and are still being tortured there.
Begg remarked about the former and current US presidents that:
If President Bush was the President of extra-judicial torture then US President Barak Obama is the President of extra judicial killing through drone strikes. Our work has only just begun.