KUALA LUMPUR, 12 April 2012 (mathaba) The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal will be hearing the second charge of Crime of Torture and War Crimes against former U.S. President George W. Bush and his associates namely Richard Cheney, former U.S. Vice President, Donald Rumsfeld, former Defence Secretary, Alberto Gonzales, then Counsel to President Bush, David Addington, then General Counsel to the Vice-President, William Haynes II, then General Counsel to Secretary of Defense, Jay Bybee, then Assistant Attorney General, and John Choon Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney-General. The charge reads as follows:
The Accused persons had committed the Crime of Torture and War Crimes, in that:
The Accused persons had willfully participated in the formulation of executive orders and directives to exclude the applicability of all international conventions and laws, namely the Convention against Torture 1984, Geneva Convention III 1949, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter in relation to the war launched by the U.S. and others in Afghanistan (in 2001) and in Iraq (in March 2003); Additionally, and/or on the basis and in furtherance thereof, the Accused persons authorised, or connived in, the commission of acts of torture and cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment against victims in violation of international law, treaties and conventions including the Convention against Torture 1984 and the Geneva Conventions, including Geneva Convention III 1949.
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC) following the due process of the law is bringing this charge against the accused. In 2009, the Commission, having received complaints from torture victims from Guantanamo and Iraq, proceeded to conduct a painstaking and an in-depth investigation for close to two years. Two charges on war crimes were drawn and filed against the accused persons.
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal had heard the first charge in November 2011 against the two accused, former U.S. President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Anthony L. Blair who were after a 4-day trial found guilty of Crimes Against Peace. These two former heads of state violated the United Nations Charter and international law when they planned, prepared and invaded the sovereign state Iraq on 19 March 2003 without just cause.
At the first hearing in November 2011, the Tribunal had permitted the prosecution’s application to hear only the first charge. The second charge will now be heard at the second Tribunal hearing from 7 – 12 May 2012.
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal is constituted of eminent persons with legal qualifications. The judges of the Tribunal, which is headed by retired Malaysian Federal Court judge Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd Yunus, who also served as an ad litem judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Republic of Yugoslavia, include other notable names such as Mr Alfred Lambremont Webre, a Yale graduate, who authored several books on politics, Tunku Sofiah Jewa, practising lawyer and author of numerous publications on International Law, Prof Salleh Buang, former Federal Counsel in the Attorney-General Chambers and retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Sa’ari Yusof.
Point to note is that victims of torture will also be called give evidence before the Tribunal. The cries of these victims have thus far gone unheeded by the international community. The fundamental human right to be heard has been denied to them. These witnesses will testify on the torture they had endured during their incarceration. The accused will have a right to cross-examine them as in any open court hearing.
The Tribunal will adjudicate and evaluate the evidence presented as in any court of law. The judges of the Tribunal must be satisfied that the charges are proven beyond reasonable doubt and deliver a reasoned judgement.
In the event the tribunal convicts any of the accused, the only sanction is that the name of the guilty person will be entered in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and publicised worldwide. The tribunal is a tribunal of conscience and a peoples’ initiative.
The prosecution for the trial will be lead by Prof Gurdial Singh Nijar, prominent law professor and author of several law publications and Prof Francis Boyle, leading American professor, practitioner and advocate of international law, and assisted by a team of lawyers.
The trial will be a public hearing held in an open court on 7-12 May 2012 at the premises of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) at 88, Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur. The hearing is open to members of the public.