The George W. Bush Administration has been criticized by Americans since the Afghanistan War and Iraq War began in 2001 and 2003 respectively. Many were concerned about human rights and Geneva Convention violations for suspected terrorists being kept offshore in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. There was also a lot of negative publicity surrounding the treatment of captives in US military detention facilities in the Middle East – Abu Grave among them.
One of the primary concerns was the use of waterboarding – a torture technique employed by the military under the Bush administration. During waterboarding, a suspect is strapped to a table and essentially drowned for a period of time. Because it leaves no physical mark, the Bush administration defended it and continues to defend it as a humane method of coercion.
In 2009, President Obama ended the use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques and closed all US secret prisons. But in doing so also absolved the Bush Administration of any wrong doing, remarking that it is “time for reflection, not retribution.”
Unfortunately for “W”, Cheney and the Bush Administration, the rest of the world disagrees. On Thursday, May 10, 2012 a War Crimes Tribunal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ruled in a 5-0 majority opinion that George W. Bush and seven of his associates were guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for illegally detaining and torturing suspected terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On the charge of Crime of Torture and War Crimes, the tribunal finds the accused persons — former U.S. President George W. Bush and his associates namely Richard Cheney, former U.S. Vice President; Donald Rumsfeld, former Defence Secretary; Alberto Gonzales, then Counsel to President Bush; David Addington, then General Counsel to the Vice-President; William Haynes II, then General Counsel to Secretary of Defence; Jay Bybee, then Assistant Attorney General; and John Choon Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney-General — guilty as charged and convicted as war criminals for Torture and Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment of the Complainant War Crime Victims. (source)
Further, the Tribunal established beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants were guilty of the following charges:
(b) Creating, authorizing and implementing a regime of Cruel, Inhumane, and Degrading Treatment;
(c) Violating Customary International Law;
(d) Violating the Convention Against Torture 1984;
(e) Violating the Geneva Convention III and IV 1949;
(f) Violating the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention of 1949.
(g) Violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter.
Being a Tribunal of Conscience, the Mayalsian judges unfortunately do not have the power to enforce the ruling. However, they meticulously followed The Principles of the Nuremberg Charter and the Nuremberg Decision which have been adopted as the principles of international law by the United Nations. Because international standards were followed, Malaysia is going to submit their ruling to the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court (ICC) for consideration.
If found guilty by the ICC, it is unlikely that the Bush Administration war criminals would be turned over to the Hague. However, such a ruling would effectively confine them to the United States as leaving the country would subject them to International Law.
It is my hope that this ruling will establish a new precedent for humane treatment of suspected criminals even if the US Government shields the ICC from serving justice on the Bush Administration war criminals.