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Tribunal de crímenes de guerra en Malasia contra Bush y Blair

War Crimes Tribunal Commences Hearing

Posted: 2011/11/19
From: Mathaba
The world media is ignoring this, everyone should get active and pass this around widely, and also check the related articles linked at the end of this report.

Two Judges of the Tribunal Recused.

KUALA LUMPUR, 19 November 2011 - The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal ('Tribunal') commenced hearing war crimes charge of Crimes against Peace against George W Bush (former U.S. President) and Anthony L Blair (former British Prime Minister) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.For the first time, a war crime charge has been heard against these two former heads of state in compliance with due legal process, wherein complaints from war victims had been received, duly investigated and formal charges instituted by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (Commission). 

The Tribunal hearing was marked with the recusing of two judges and with the better part of the day spent on dealing with preliminary objections from the Defence team.

The Tribunal inquired in detail on the service of the charges (charges served on accused) against the two accused. The Prosecution referred to the Affidavit of Service filed and affirmed by the then registrar of the Tribunal, that the charges were served on 19 September 2011 to known addresses of the both accused and in addition, also served on the US Embassy and the UK High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. The service of the charges was in accordance with the rules of the Charter of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission ('Charter').

Mr Jason Kay, appointed as Amicus Curiae (‘Defence’) under Article 15 of the Charter raised two preliminary objections:
  1. on the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the case
  2. that Judge Niloufer Bhagwat withdraw from hearing the case on the grounds of potential bias.
On the issue of bias, the Defence submitted that judge Niloufer Bhagwat was involved as a judge in the International Criminal Tribunal For Afghanistan at Tokyo where George W Bush was found guilty for crimes in Afghanistan. And she had appeared as a prosecutor in the World Tribunal on Iraq against the same accused in Istanbul.

The Prosecution responded that the Iraq tribunal was a NGO session and not a court and the Tokyo tribunal and the Iraq tribunal were held in the absence of Bush. And the most important fact is that each case is decided on a case-by-case basis based on facts and law. In addition, the Iraq war and its atrocities, has caused everyone to have their own views. The Tribunal adjourned the sitting to deliberate on the matter.

Judge Niloufer Bhagwat made a statement that she had at all times fully disclosed to the Commission about her role in the previous tribunals. She highlighted that at the Nuremburg trials where the judges were all from the Allied powers, no issue of bias was raised. Although she had no vested interest in the matter of the present hearing, she would voluntarily recuse herself in the interest that ‘justice must be seen to be done’ (withdraw from the Tribunal panel for this hearing) so as not to cast even a shadow of partiality on the proceedings.

On the issue of jurisdiction, the Defence submitted that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction, as it has not been sanctioned by the United Nations. Nor is it under the Rome Statute as Iraq and Afghanistan are not signatories of the Rome Statute. Extensive submission was made in support of these points.

The Prosecution submitted that the tribunal is a Tribunal of conscience. The Prosecution submitted that no action has been taken despite numerous complaints of war crimes against the two accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The United Nations also failed to take any action to recommend criminal trials. It must be noted that the United States and the United Kingdom have veto powers in the UN Security Council.

The UN Charter starts with ‘We the peoples…’ The KL Charter is based on the peoples’ right. Today, People are making power accountable. In addition, this Tribunal is not usurping the authority of any organisation such as the UN. As a people, we have the right as humanity to act against war crimes. War crimes are universal in that there is no geographical limitation. God given conscience cannot be silenced. There are also views that this Tribunal has no purpose. The World Court can take into account judicial decisions of other judicial bodies. The Tribunal is made out of eminent people, which can set precedents in the legal authority of international law against war crimes.

After deliberation, the sittings resumed with the Tribunal president informing parties that Judge Zakaria Yatim had been taken ill and would not be able to continue serving on the panel. The quorum of five judges is permitted under the Charter of the Commission.

The Tribunal also unanimously overruled the preliminary objection and ruled that that it has the jurisdiction on the following grounds that:
  • The Tribunal is constituted under the Charter of the Commission, which is a legally constituted body.
  • By virtue of Article 7 (1) of the Charter the Tribunal has the jurisdiction to hear the charges before the Tribunal.
  • The Tribunal is a tribunal of conscience guided by the principal of natural justice.
  • The Commission’s Charter is inspired by the Rome Statute
  • Guided by previous tribunals of conscience such as the Russell Bertrand Tribunal for the Vietnam War and the Tokyo Tribunal for Afghanistan.
  • The Tribunal is complementary to the UN, which has thus far not acted on the complaints of war crimes against these 2 accused.
The prosecution made an application to the Tribunal to only hear the first charge, Crimes Against Peace, which the Tribunal permitted.

The Prosecution opened their case by outlining why this charge of Crimes Against Peace have been brought against the two accused:
  • To signal that no country, however powerful can arrogate to itself the right to commit the Crime against Peace, in this case attack another country in violation of international law.
  • To signal that there is culpability for such crimes by individuals, including heads of states, who authorise or acquiesce in the commission of such a crime.
  • To hold liable heads of states and not just punish petty minions.
  • To preserve the integrity of international law as it evolves and is now evolving. This can be done by consigning to the dustbin of history, the crude and naked arrogance and cruelty of power as demonstrated by the acts of these two accused - leaders supposedly of the free and civilised world.
  • These 2 accused had deceived their own country and the international community in furtherance of their evil and criminal design and objectives.
 The Prosecution commenced their case through the tendering of public documents showing that the attack on Iraq was planned prior to 9/11 and was an ongoing plan until the actual attack on Iraq in 2003. The UN Resolution 1441, which was relied upon by the US and UK to launch the attack was also scrutinised to show that there was no authority to use force under the said resolution. There was a need for the UN to actually authorise the use of force by way of a second resolution. This was evidenced by the history of negotiation of UN Resolution 1441 wherein there was clear indication that the resolution did not authorise the use of force.

The hearing proceeded till the end of the evening and will continue on Sunday 20 November 2011.

The trial is being held in an open court from November 19-22, 2011 at the premises of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) at 88, Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Stay Tuned
To be sure to receive all news media updates on the trial, given that this historic event of utmost importance to justice is unlikely to receive any coverage whatsoever by the failed news media networks of the world, which have even ignored the countless victims of the unjust aggression against Libya which has raged for most of this year, it is imperative that readers share this article and stay tuned so as not to miss further updates, and also read the previous articles linked below.

So as to be informed of updates, you are urged to sign up with your email at www.mathaba.net/go/daily and if you use facebook to "like" the page at www.facebook.com/mathaba.net -- or follow on Twitter @mathaba or via RSS news feed readers adding the following address to your subscriptions: http://rss.mathaba.net/MathabaNews

Further Information

For further information, please contact:

Dato’ Dr Yaacob Merican
Secretary General of the KLWCC Secretariat
Tel: +6012-227 8680

Ms Malkeet Kaur
Media Representative of KLWCC
Tel: +6012-3737 886

Tribunal Members

The Tribunal Members are:
  • Dato’ Abdul Kadir Sulaiman
  • Dato' Zakaria Yatim (Recused)
  • Tunku Sofiah Jewa
  • Prof Salleh Buang
  • Mr Alfred Lambremont Webre
  • Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi
  • Prof Niloufer Bhagwat (Recused)
The Prosecution
  • Prof Gurdial S Nijar
  • Prof Francis Boyle 
  • Mr Avtaran Singh
Amicus Curiae (appointed Defence team)

Mr Jason Kay
And 3 other counsels.

The Charge

Crimes Against Peace filed against George W Bush (former President of the U.S.) and Anthony L "Tony" Blair (former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) wherein they are charged as follows:

The Accused persons had committed Crimes against Peace, in that the Accused persons planned, prepared and invaded the sovereign state of Iraq on 19 March 2003 in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law.

The Tribunal will adjudicate and evaluate the evidence presented on facts and law as in any court of law. The judges of the Tribunal must be satisfied that the charge is proven beyond reasonable doubt and deliver a reasoned judgement. The verdict and the names of the persons found guilty will be entered in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and publicised worldwide.

“WHY is it that the murder of one man is considered a criminal act whereas the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people committed in wars, is not considered so?" --Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (former Prime Minister of Malaysia)

Additional Resources
Mathaba News Network is covering the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal Hearing, in the absence of almost all the world news media, which are hopelessly compromised and have failed in their duty to cover news and issues in the public interest. There is perhaps no greater scourge than war, yet the horrific wars, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity are being committed with impunity due to the silence of news media.

Please therefore give your utmost support to Mathaba News and the efforts of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, by sharing this article widely. You are also invited to support Mathaba News by taking out asubscription or making a donation. We also invite you to make use of the resources provided by, or supported by, the Mathaba Network, by visiting www.mathaba.com which include alternative social media networks and pro-democracy and human rights initiatives.