Found Guilty Of War Crimes
By Yvonne Ridley
May 11, 2012 "Information
-- Kuala Lumpur -- IT’S OFFICIAL - George W Bush is a war
In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the
world, the former US President and seven key members of his
administration were today (Friday) found guilty of war crimes.
Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers
Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and
John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.
The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts
from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers
and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an
ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi
who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal
unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney,
Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as
war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading
Full transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other
relevant material will now be sent to the Chief Prosecutor of
the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations
and the Security Council.
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission is also asking that the
names of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Yoo, Bybee, Addington
and Haynes be entered and included in the Commission’s Register
of War Criminals for public record.
The tribunal is the initiative of Malaysia's retired Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who staunchly opposed the
American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
He sat through the entire hearing as it took personal statements
and testimonies of three witnesses namely Abbas Abid, Moazzam
Begg and Jameelah Hameedi. The tribunal also heard two other
Statutory Declarations of Iraqi citizen Ali Shalal and Rahul
Ahmed, another British citizen.
After the guilty verdict reached by five senior judges was
delivered, Mahathir Mohamad said: “Powerful countries are
getting away with murder.”
War crimes expert and lawyer Francis Boyle, professor of
international law at the University of Illinois College of Law
in America, was part of the prosecution team.
After the case he said: “This is the first conviction of these
people anywhere in the world.”
While the hearing is regarded by some as being purely symbolic,
human rights activist Boyle said he was hopeful that Bush and Co
could soon find themselves facing similar trials elsewhere in
“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 then referenced the Nuremberg Charter which was used as
the format for the tribunal when asked about the credibility of
the initiative in Malaysia. He quoted: “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 US is subject to customary international law and to the
Principles of the Nuremberg Charter said Boyle who also believes
the week-long trial was “almost certainly” being monitored
closely by both 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”.
He added that he was optimistic the tribunal would be followed
up elsewhere in the world where “countries have a duty to try
war criminals” and he cited the case of the former Chilean
dictator Augustine Pinochet who was arrested in Britain to be
extradited to Spain on charges of war crimes.
“Pinochet was only eight years out of his presidency when that
The Pinochet case was the first time that several European
judges applied the principle of universal jurisdiction,
declaring themselves competent to judge crimes committed by
former heads of state, despite local amnesty laws.
Throughout the week the tribunal was packed with legal experts
and law students as witnesses gave testimony and then cross
examination by the defence led by lawyer Jason Kay Kit Leon.
The court heard how
· Abbas Abid, a 48-year-old engineer from Fallujah in Iraq had
his fingernails removed by pliers.
· Ali Shalal was attached with bare electrical wires and
electrocuted and hung from a wall.
· Moazzam Begg was beaten, hooded and put in solitary
· Jameelah was stripped and humiliated, and was used as a human
shield whilst being transported by helicopter.
The witnesses also detailed how they have residual injuries till
Moazzam Begg, now working as a director for the London-based
human rights group Cageprisoners said he was delighted with the
verdict, but added: “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.”
In response to questions about the difference between the Bush
and Obama Administrations, he added: “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.”
The prosecution case rested on proving how the decision-makers
at the highest level President Bush, Vice-President Cheney,
Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld, aided and abetted by the lawyers
and the other commanders and CIA officials – all acted in
concert. Torture was systematically applied and became an
According to the prosecution, the testimony of all the witnesses
exposed a sustained perpetration of brutal, barbaric, cruel and
dehumanising course of conduct against them.
These acts of crimes were applied cumulatively to inflict the
worst possible pain and suffering, said lawyers.
The president of the tribunal Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd
Yunus Lamin, found that the prosecution had established beyond a
“reasonable doubt that the accused persons, former President
George Bush and his co-conspirators engaged in a web of
instructions, memos, directives, legal advice and action that
established a common plan and purpose, joint enterprise and/or
conspiracy to commit the crimes of Torture and War Crimes,
including and not limited to a common plan and purpose to commit
the following crimes in relation to the “War on Terror” and the
wars launched by the U.S. and others in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
President Lamin told a packed courtroom: “As a tribunal of
conscience, the Tribunal is fully aware that its verdict is
merely declaratory in nature. The tribunal has 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 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.
“The Tribunal also recommends to the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes
Commission that the names of all the 8 convicted persons be
entered and included in the Commission’s Register of War
Criminals and be publicised accordingly.
“The Tribunal recommends to the War Crimes Commission to give
the widest international publicity to this conviction and grant
of reparations, as these are universal crimes for which there is
a responsibility upon nations to institute prosecutions if any
of these Accused persons may enter their jurisdictions”.
British journalist Yvonne Ridley is also a patron of