Malaysia rights group finds Bush, Blair guilty of war crimes in symbolic trial

[JURIST] The Malaysian Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) [official website] on Tuesday found former US president George W. Bush, former UK prime minister Tony Blair [JURIST news archives] guilty of war crimes after a symbolic trial [JURIST report]. The duo was found guilty on charges in connection to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq after a four-day hearing. The trials, headed by former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad [BBC profile], a vocal critic of the Iraq conflict since its inception, have no enforcement power under international or domestic rule of law. Nonetheless, the tribunal plans to try other prominent political figures of the war, including former vice president Dick Cheney and former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld [JURIST news archives].

Various human rights groups have filed charges against US and UK officials alleging war crimes committed in Afghanistan and Iraq. In October, the attorney general for British Columbia blocked a lawsuit [JURIST report] filed by the Canadian Centre for International Justice [advocacy website] against Bush on torture allegations. Earlier in October, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy websites] urged the Canadian government to investigate and arrest [JURIST report] Bush for his role in torture. In February, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the European Center for Human Rights [advocacy websites] urged the signatory states of the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) [text] to pursue criminal charges [JURIST report] against Bush. Other calls to investigate the criminal culpability of Bush and officials in his administration have been rejected consistently by US officials [JURIST report]. In 2010, a former UN official strongly suggested [JURIST report] a war crimes investigation of actions by both sides in the Afghanistan war. In 2009, the UK High Court criticized [JURIST report] its own Ministry of Defense for failure to investigate or release documents regarding a claim of war crimes against UK soldiers in Iraq.

 

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