George W Bush guilty of war crimes

MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 13:18 15/05/2012
Former US President George W Bush has been found guilty of war crimes by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal.
Reuters
WAR CRIMINAL?: Former US President George W Bush has been found guilty of war crimes by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal.

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Former United States president George W Bush and seven of his associates have been found guilty of war crimes.

But their deeds are likely to go unpunished as the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal which found them guilty is a "tribunal of conscience" and does not have the power to impose any punishment.

Bush, former US vice president Richard Cheney, former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former deputy assistant attorney general John Choon Yoo, former assistant attorney general Jay Bybee, and former counsels Alberto Gonzales, David Addington and William Haynes II were convicted as war criminals on Friday.

The five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered a guilty verdict on charges relating to their involvement of knowing that prisoners of war were being tortured while held in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

They were charged and convicted for Torture and Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment of the Complainant War Crime Victims, Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War said in a statement.

The foundation established the tribunal in 2008 to bring justice against crimes against peace, humanity, crimes of genocide and war crimes.

Several prisoners gave evidence at the trial.

Abbas Abid, Moazzam Begg, Jameelah Hameedi, Ali Shalal and Rhuhel Ahmed all gave evidence detailing their experience while imprisoned.

Iraqi Abbas Abid, a 48-year-old chief engineer in the Science and Technology Ministry, had his fingernails removed by pliers.

Others were electrocuted, beaten and kept in solitary confinement.

Hameedi was used as a human shield whilst being transported by helicopter, the foundation said.

The prosecution explained to the tribunal how Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, aided and abetted by lawyers, commanders and CIA officials all acted together.

"Torture was systematically applied and became an accepted norm," the foundation said.

The tribunal ruled that Bush and his associates "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" and the wars launched by the US and others in Afghanistan and Iraq."

It found that the prosecution had proven beyond reasonable doubt that the accused lawyers, gave ''advice'' that "the Geneva Conventions did not apply (to suspected al Qaeda and Taleban detainees); that there was no torture occurring within the meaning of the Torture Convention, and that enhanced interrogations techniques, (constituting cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment,) were permissible."

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The prosecution also established beyond reasonable doubt that the accused lawyers "knew full well their advice was being sought to be acted upon, and in fact was acted upon, and such advice paved the way for violations of international law, the Geneva Conventions and the Torture Convention."

The tribunal's president found that the witnesses were entitled to reparation payments and urged the accused to find a judicial entity which could enforce the penalty.

- Stuff

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