Malaysia rights group to hold symbolic war crimes trial for former US, UK leaders
Malaysia rights group to hold symbolic war crimes trial for former US, UK leaders
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[JURIST] The Malaysian Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) [official website] will hold a symbolic four-day war crimes trial [press release] against former US president George W. Bush, former UK prime minister Tony Blair [JURIST news archives] and other former US officials on charges in connection to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. The trial, set to begin Saturday, will be adjudicated by the Kuala Lumpur War Crime Tribunal (KLWCC), which consists of prominent legal minds including retired and non-retired Malaysian judges, lawyers, authors and professors. The KLWCC is charging Bush and Blair with crimes against peace for invading Iraq in violation of the UN Charter [text] and international law. The KLWCC is also charging Bush and seven other former US officials, including former vice president Dick Cheney and former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, with the crime of torture and war crimes for their treatment of prisoners throughout the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The group alleges that the US leaders acted in violation of the UN Charter, the Geneva Convention of 1949 [text, PDF] and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [text]. The KLFCW stated:

The Commission, having received complaints from war victims in Iraq in 2009, proceeded to conduct a painstaking and an in-depth investigation for close to two years and in 2011, constituted formal charges on war crimes against Bush, Blair and their associates.The Iraq invasion in 2003 and its occupation had resulted in the death of 1.4 million Iraqis. Countless others had endured torture and untold hardship. The cries of these victims have thus far gone unheeded by the international community.

In the event of a conviction, the names of individuals found guilty will be entered into the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and published globally.

Various human rights groups have filed charges against US and UK officials alleging war crimes committed in Afghanistan and Iraq. In October, the attorney general for British Columbia blocked a lawsuit [JURIST report] filed by the Canadian Centre for International Justice [advocacy website] against Bush on torture allegations. Earlier in October, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy websites] urged the Canadian government to investigate and arrest [JURIST report] Bush for his role in torture. In February, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the European Center for Human Rights [advocacy websites] urged the signatory states of the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) [text] to pursue criminal charges [JURIST report] against Bush. Other calls to investigate the criminal culpability of Bush and officials in his administration have been rejected consistently by US officials [JURIST report]. In 2010, a former UN official strongly suggested [JURIST report] a war crimes investigation of actions by both sides in the Afghanistan war. In 2009, the UK High Court criticized [JURIST report] its own Ministry of Defense for failure to investigate or release documents regarding a claim of war crimes against UK soldiers in Iraq.