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An unanimous guilty verdict was handed down by a five-panel tribunal in Malaysia on Friday, convicting in absentia that Former President George W. Bush, Former Vice-President Dick Cheney, Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Bush Administration legal advisers David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo.

Foreign Policy Journal

The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisers who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

This is a really, really big deal. The United State is party to international law, and specifically relating to this case, the Nuremberg Charter and the International Criminal Courts, so this conviction will reverberate beyond Malaysia.

According to the article, University of Illinois international law professor Francis Boyle has been attempting to try Bush & Co. for war crimes in Canada and Switzerland but had been unsuccessful. An attempt to try them in Germany ended from pressure by the Bush Administration in 2007, and attempts in Spain ended when the Obama administration put pressure on the Spanish Government to drop the charges.

So what happens now?

President Lamin told a packed courtroom: “As a tribunal of conscience, the Tribunal is fully aware that its verdict is merely declaratory in nature. The tribunal has no power of enforcement, no power to impose any custodial sentence on any one or more of the 8 convicted persons. What we can do, under Article 31 of Chapter VI of Part 2 of the Charter is to recommend to the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission to submit this finding of conviction by the Tribunal, together with a record of these proceedings, to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.

“The Tribunal also recommends to the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission that the names of all the 8 convicted persons be entered and included in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and be publicised accordingly.

“The Tribunal recommends to the War Crimes Commission to give the widest international publicity to this conviction and grant of reparations, as these are universal crimes for which there is a responsibility upon nations to institute prosecutions if any of these Accused persons may enter their jurisdictions.”

With any luck, this will spur additional action from other countries to hold their own trials, and will also remind the Obama Administration that no one, including the United States, is above the law; relying on precedent set by the Bush Administration to sidestep international law in the name of the "war on terror" is poor policy.

I do recommend reading the full Foreign Policy Journal article.

More reading:
Addicting Info: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney Convicted Of War Crimes

UPDATE:
Ah, I missed the November 2011 conviction about the legality of the Iraq War by this tribunal. In effect, this is an extension of that trial, only adding the torture element to it. And while this has no teeth, at least it's on the record somewhere (even though it appears the panel is composed of the loony)

I'll leave the diary up, though, in the interest of information. Thanks to my crowdsourcing fact-checkers :)

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