The historic verdict recently reached by Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal substantiates long-held accusations that the treatment of detainees held by the US military in Bagram, Guantanamo and Abu Gharib constitutes torture as understood and accepted by international law.
The tribunal heard disturbing witness accounts from victims who suffered irreparable harm and injury at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, including testimony from Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Jameelah Abbas Hameedi, an Iraqi woman who was tortured in the infamous Abu Ghraib facility.
At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors, who were all convicted of war crimes for their authorization of torture, in direct violation of the Geneva Convention on torture 1949, the Convention against Torture 1984, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Charter, and the US Constitution itself.
Although the Malaysian War Crimes Tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to prosecute the accused, the findings of the judiciary in Kuala Lumpur, along with a record of the tribunal’s proceedings, will be sent to the International Criminal Court, the United Nations and the Security Council. While the verdicts of the War Crimes Tribunal cite highly documented and definite evidence indicting former Bush administration officials of war crimes, dwindling public confidence in institutions such as the International Criminal Court can be attributed to their failure to recognize these, and other conclusions reached by independent judiciaries.
Practitioners of the alternative media and concerned individuals must do their part to publicize the findings of the Malaysian tribunal, to ensure that further momentum is gained toward the successful prosecution of those responsible for the unpardonable offenses described by former detainees.
As the Obama administration continues to employ inhumane tactics of preemptive warfare in various regions of the world, the verdict reached by the tribunal remains a casually ignored reminder of the human cost attributed to increasingly aggressive American foreign policy.