Update: Since posting this, and despite many reports in Malaysian news sources which imply that this was an official tribunal, I have discovered that the tribunal does not carry any legal authority. Rather, it is an informal group organized by the former prime minister of Malaysia. As such, it is merely symbolic.
Bush and Blair Convicted of War Crimes
George W. Bush and Tony Blair have been found guilty of war crimes for committing crimes against humanity during the Iraq war.
Granted, it was not the U.S., or England or any other Western country … but Malaysia.
Specifically, as Press TV notes:
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal found the former heads of state guilty after a four-day hearing. A seven-member panel chaired by former Malaysian Federal Court judge Abdul Kadir Sulaiman presided over the trial.
One of the prosecutors for the war crimes tribunal – Dr. Francis Boyle (Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, a leading practitioner and advocate of international law, who is responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the American implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, who represented Bosnia- Herzegovina at the World Court, with a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University) – had this to say about the verdict:
“Bush and Blair are found guilty under the same law that applied to the Nazis after the end of the World War II. So, they are international (war) criminals guilty of Nuremberg crimes against peace; and they should be prosecuted by any state in the world that gets a hold of them. We will continue our efforts to bring Bush and Blair to justice and put them in jail,” Francis Boyle, an international law expert and prosecutor, told Press TV.
The [Malaysian] War Crimes Tribunal is scheduled to hold a separate hearing next year on charges of torture linked to the Iraq war against former US officials including ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld and ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Spain, of course, came close to indicting Bush for war crimes. As I noted in 2009:
The Spanish judge who investigated and charged Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for war crimes has his eye on – and may prosecute – Bush Officials for torture.
The U.N. also considered war crimes prosecutions. As I pointed out in 2009, the head of the U.N.’s human rights arm demanded that prosecutor’s investigations into illegal torture go to the top … including Bush and Cheney.
(See this for background on the ability to prosecute Bush and Cheney for torture).
So the fact that any nation – even one which is predominately Muslim – has overcome U.S. and British pressure and actually indicted Bush and Blair for war crimes is newsworthy. Moreover, two towns in Vermont, Amnesty International and other groups – see this, and this – argue that Bush and Cheney should be arrested on sight for war crimes under U.S. and international law.
Indeed, Bush has canceled scheduled trips in order to avoid arrest.
Next, the Malaysians will lobby the International Criminal Court to charge the pair for war crimes. If the ICC agrees to charges, that would be Nuremberg-level news.
Note: Former congresswoman McKinney points out that the amicus defense team for Bush and Blair argued that the “emotionalism” born of 9/11 excused Bush and Blair’s actions. McKinney therefore argues that 9/11 itself is fair game for an investigation. She joins the former 9/11 Commission members and Congressional 9/11 investigators.