Friday, December 3

Tribunal finds Bush, seven others guilty of war crimes


KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal yesterday found former US president George W Bush and seven of his associates guilty of the charge of ‘Crime of Torture and War Crimes’.

The associates were former US vice-president Dick Cheney; former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Bush’s former counsel Alberto Gonzales; Cheney’s then-general counsel David Addington; Rumsfeld’s then-general counsel William Haynes; then-assistant attorney-general Jay Bybee; and former deputy assistant attorney-general John Yoo.

In a unanimous decision, former Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Lamin Mohd Yunus who headed the quorum of the tribunal, ruled the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

“We, therefore, found that the accused are guilty of the charge,” said Lamin.

The other four judges comprise Tunku Sofiah Jewa, Alfred Lambremont Webre, Professor Salleh Buang and Mohd Saari Yusuf. The panel arrived at the decision after hearing evidence from five prosecution witnesses and submissions from the prosecution and defence side.

The hearing took place over a four-day period, beginning May 7, whereby, three witnesses testified in the proceedings, while others gave their testimony, by way of statutory declarations.

Prof Gurdial Singh Nijar led the prosecution team while Jason Kay Kit Leon who was appointed ‘amicus curae’ (friend of the court), represented the accused.

The eight accused were charged with the crime of torture, that they had wilfully participated in the formulation of executive orders and directives to exclude the applicability of international conventions and laws, namely Convention against Torture 1984, Geneva Convention 1949, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter, in relation to the war launched by the US and others in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in March 2003.

Additionally, and/or on the basis and in furtherance thereof, the accused authorised, connived in, the commission of acts of torture and cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment against victims in violation of international law, treaties and aforesaid conventions.

Reading the 19-page verdict, Lamin said after considering the evidence adduced by the prosecution and submissions by both parties, the tribunal was satisfied the eight accused were guilty of the charge and convicted as criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of the complainant war crime victims. — Bernama