November 15, 2011 4:17:54 pm
The symbolic Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal will hold a trial in absentia for former US president George W Bush and former British prime minister Tony Blair on charges of committing crimes against peace during the Iraq War.
Bush and seven top US officials,who served under him,will also face a separate charge of crimes of torture and war crimes at the tribunal at the symbolic trial to begin on Saturday.
The tribunal is an initiative of former premier Mahathir Mohammad.
The three-day hearing will be conducted by seven senior judges headed by retired Malaysian Federal Court judge Abdul Kadir Sulaiman.
The trial will go on although the two accused leaders and other defendants have yet to respond to the tribunal’s notice,Dr Yaacob Hussain Marican,the secretary-general of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War,which is holding the tribunal,said adding the tribunal was being convened for the third time since 2007.
Yaacob said the tribunal of conscience was modelled on the one convened by philosopher Bertrand Russell in 1966 to try the perpetrators of the Vietnam War.
Yaacob said although the tribunal lacked enforcement powers,it would publish the verdict to get the world community to treat the accused as guilty persons.
“The charges are being brought against the accused by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission,which comes under our foundation,following in-depth investigations into complaints received from war victims in 2009.
“The commission acts as a peoples’ initiative to provide an avenue for victims to file their complaints and let them have their day in a court of law,” he said.
Professor Gurdial S Nijar,a law professor and author of law publications,and Professor Francis Boyle,an American professor,practitioner and advocate of international law,will head the prosecution during the trial.
The trial,to be held in an open court and is open to the public.
On the sidelines of the tribunal,Perdana Global Peace Foundation will organise an exhibition,”War is a Crime”,with a conference on Friday.
The conference’s theme,”The Arab Uprising”,will be opened by former prime minister Mahathir.
The Kuala Lumpur tribunal’s panel will include two retired judges from Malaysia’s highest court,peace activist Alfred Lambremont Webre of the US and Mumbai-based lawyer Niloufer Bhagwat.
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