Just what planet are these kangaroos from:
THE Kuala Lumpur Tribunal on War Crimes sat for five days in the courtroom at the Al-Bukhary Foundation to listen to charges against George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzalez, David Addington, William Haynes II, Jay Byber and John Choon Yoo of the United States for the torture of detainees held in the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo detention camps.
Many would ask of what use is this hearing by a toothless tribunal.
The answer is that the international community has failed in the proper implementation of international laws to which all countries have officially subscribed. Worse still, the laws are applied only against weak countries and their leaders who are judged and punished.
The prosecution team of the Kuala Lumpur Tribunal cited the Geneva Convention on torture 1949, the Convention against Torture 1984, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter, the US Constitution itself and the rules of conduct of the US military to prove that the treatment of the prisoners constituted torture as understood and accepted by international laws.
The acts were cruel, inhuman and degrading. The accused were proven to have authorised, connived in the commission of acts of torture and cruel, degrading and inhuman acts against victims in violation of international laws, treaties and conventions.
The prosecution also gave details of the action by the accused, through their memos, approvals and directives for the torture of the prisoners.
Former president George W. Bush declared that al-Qaeda was not a party to the conventions or agreements and was, therefore, not protected by them. Further, it was argued that should these prisoners capture American personnel, they would treat their captives in the same way.
The defence in mitigation said that the situation after the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers rendered existing conventions, treaties and laws invalid. The accused were entitled to act in contravention of all laws, treaties and conventions.
After four days of hearings, the tribunal adjourned to consider the verdict. On the fifth day, that is, 24 hours after the hearings ended, the tribunal gave a 19-page written judgment, finding that the prosecution had established beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had “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” that was launched by the US and others in Afghanistan and Iraq:
CREATING, authorising and implementing a regime of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatments;
VIOLATING, customary international law;
VIOLATING, the Conventions against Torture 1984;
VIOLATING, the Geneva Convention III and IV 1949;
VIOLATING, the common article III, the Geneva Convention of 1949; and
VIOLATING, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter.“
Yes, we cannot enforce the decisions of the Kuala Lumpur tribunal. But the world must know through the hearings that the leaders of a country that frequently takes the high ground to lecture the world on human rights, the rule of law, etc are no better, but are worse than the many leaders and countries they condemned as not adhering to acceptable behaviour, practice and respect for the norms of modern civilisation.
Malaysia had the Internal Security Act. Malaysia did detain people without trial. But it should be noted that there is a law providing for this. The US government of former president Bush detained people before there was any law providing for such detentions.
Malaysia never sanctions torture. Certainly, the Malaysian government never spelt out the kind of torture that could be inflicted on the prisoners. But the US leaders knowingly sanction torture and describe the kind of torture to be carried out, even as they condemn others of being oppressive against their own people.
It is a pity that not many people attended the hearings. They would be horrified at what the leaders of the foremost democracy in the world have sanctioned and are guilty of.
That in this day and age, there are still leaders of governments who break laws and legalise behaviour incompatible with modern civilisation is mind chilling. That this country is the greatest military power in the world is truly frightening.
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal is a court of conscience. It may not have the power to have its findings implemented. But there can be no doubt that without the hearing before the tribunal, the crimes of the leaders of powerful countries will never be exposed to the world.
The findings of the court will be communicated to all governments, will be broadcast to the whole world through the Internet, and via international non-governmental organisations.
The people of the US are well known for their insularity. They know little about the world beyond their borders. They believe that they are always right.
Recall as well that former president Bush cancelled his trip to Switzerland last year due to threats from human rights groups. In 2009, Spanish prosecutors sought to indict “the Bush Six”. In 2008, Vincent Bugliosi came out with a book, detailing a legal framework for how he’d go about prosecuting George W. Bush. In 2006, filmmakers fantasized about the assassination of President Bush.
At least there’s some level of consistency here in their condemnation:
“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.”
After the guilty verdict reached by five senior judges was delivered, Mohamad said: “Powerful countries are getting away with murder.”
One of the most typically heard human rights-related comments about the Tribunal’s recent success in the post 9/11 reign of terror leads the comments on Press TV’s breaking news coverage of this event: “Obama and his cohorts need also to be tried for crimes against humanity.”