On May 11, 2012, a five member jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdictagainst former United States President George W. Bush and his associates at the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal hearing that had started on May 7, 2012.
The tribunal found George W. Bush and his associates — former U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney, former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, then Counsel to President Bush, Alberto Gonzales, then General Counsel to the Vice-President David Addington, then General Counsel to Secretary of Defence, William Haynes II, then Assistant Attorney General, Jay Bybee, and former Deputy Assistant Attorney-General John Choon Yoo, guilty as charged and convicted as war criminals for Torture and Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment of the Complainant War Crime Victims.
Earlier in the week, the tribunal heard the testimonies of three victims of this torture, Abbas Abid, Moazzam Begg and Jameelah Hameedi. They related the horrific tortures they had faced during their incarceration. The tribunal also heard two other declarations of Iraqi citizen Ali Shalal and Rhuhel Ahmed, a British citizen.
Abbas Abid, a 48-year-old chief engineer in the Science and Technology Ministry of Iraq had his fingernails removed by pliers. Ali Shalal was attached with bare electrical wires and electrocuted and hung from the wall. Moazzam Begg was beaten and put in solitary confinement. Jameelah was almost nude and humiliated, used as a human shield whilst being transported by helicopter. All these witnesses have residual injuries till today.
These witnesses were taken prisoners and held in prisons in Afghanistan (Bagram), in Iraq (Abu Gharib, Baghdad International Airport) and two of them namely Moazzam Begg and Rhuhel Ahmed were transported to Guantanamo Bay.
It was proved that 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 accepted norm.
After hours of deliberation, the tribunal, in the verdict that was read out by 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 were 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, in relation to the “War on Terror” launched by the U.S. and others in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In the process, theywere guilty of flagrantly violating all international laws, including the Convention against torture 1984, theGeneva Convention III and IV 1949, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter. The Tribunal found Bush and his cohorts individually and jointly liable for all crimes committed in pursuit of their common plan and purpose under principles established by Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal (the Nuremburg Charter)which states, “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 plan.”
The Tribunal found that the accused lawyers, gave ‘advice' that “the Geneva Conventions did not apply (to suspected al Qaeda and Taliban detainees); that there was no torture occurring within the meaning of the Torture Convention, and that enhanced interrogations techniques, (constituting cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment,) were permissible.” These lawyers knew that their advice would be acted upon and would lead to violations of international law, the Geneva Conventions, and the Torture Convention.
The Tribunal ordered that compensation commensurate with the irreparable harm and injury, pain and suffering undergone by the Complainant Victims be paid by those found guilty and their government. The Tribunal admitted that in the present world order, its decisions were at best recommendatory, with no mechanism for enforcement. It expressed the hope that armed with the findings of the Tribunal, the victims find a state or international judicial entity able and willing to exercise jurisdiction and to enforce the verdict of the Tribunal on the eight accused.
President Lamin read, “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 publicized 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.”
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar considers the work of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal as a significant contribution to the world wide struggle of the anti imperialist and peace loving forces to punish those responsible for the war crimes against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, and to block the war drive of US imperialism and its allies.