Malaysia rights group finds Bush and associates guilty of war crimes in symbolic trial

[JURIST] The Malaysian Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) [advocacy website] on Friday found former US president George W. Bush [JURIST news archive] and seven administration officials guilty of war crimes [press release] after a symbolic trial. The five-member tribunal convicted Bush, former vice president Dick Cheney, former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former attorney general Alberto Gonzales [JURIST news archives], and several other administration officials of torture and war crimes. The tribunal heard from three witnesses who were detained at the Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan or at Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archives] in Iraq, two of whom were eventually transferred to Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder]. 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, but the KLFCW expressed hope that "the witnesses will, in the near future, find a state or an international judicial entity able and willing to exercise jurisdiction and to enforce the verdict of this Tribunal against the 8 convicted persons and their government." The KLFCW previously convicted Bush [JURIST report] and former UK prime minister Tony Blair [JURIST news archive] of war crimes in connection with the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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 and Amnesty International [advocacy websites] urged the Canadian government to investigate and arrest [JURIST report] Bush for his role in torture. In February 2011 the Center for Constitutional Rights and the European Center for Human Rights [advocacy websites] urged the signatory states of the UN Convention Against Torture [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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