Sunday, November 01, 2009

War Crime Tribunal Hearing: Adjourned for two months

Six detainees of Guantanamo Bay - Sami Al Hajj, Moazzam Begg, Rhuhel Ahmad, Jameelah Abbas Hameedi; detained Iraqi citizen Salam Fanar Zabin and Abbas Zaid Obaid ; and an expert on environmenat, Dr. Souad Naji Al-Azzawi presented their case to the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commision on Thursday.

The public hearing was chaired by Zainur Zakaria, a famous Malaysian lawyer and members are Profesor Hans Von Sponeck (US), Dennis Halliday (Irealand), Musa Ismail (Malaysia), Profesor Gurdial Nijar (Australia), Dr. Zulaiha Ismail (Malaysia) dan Profesor Dr. Mohd. Akram Shair Mohamed (Malaysia).

Yesterday, the commission made a submission to the War Crimes Tribunal yesterday till in the late hours of Saturday to a panel of judges.

The chairman of the Tribunal is Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman and members are Tunku Sofiah Jewa (Malaysia); Francis A. Boyle (US); Profesor Salleh Buang (Malaysia); Profesor Niloufer Bhagwat (India); Alfred Lambremont Webre (US) dan Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi (Malaysia).

The complains cover the abuse and torture experiance undergone by those illegally detained, the use of depleted uranium, destructuction and denial of basic needs and infrasturucture of occupied Iraq.

The Tribual will convened to ascertain their rights to hear the complains and advise on whether a head of state can exempt themselves from international law which their country had rectified and joint signatory to.

They are expected to come up with their finding in two months. The proccedings of the Tribunal will be extended to ICC, and other similar Tribunals. Copies of the Tribunal will be sent to courts of other countries, and other NGOS.

An often posed question is how the finding or judgement of the Tribunal be executed. Certainly it is not easy to execute and detain the likes of George W Bush and Tony Blair.

It provides a strong and legitimate basis to ostracise and label them as war criminals. It is hoped that this will become a deterence to others and help to stop the continual injustice, torture and murder on the innocent people of occupied territories.

Such effort is a welcome initiative for these victims have been denied legal redress. When they submitted to the ICC, the ICC took the position that there are insufficient ground of incarceration. The legal opiniosn through properly held proceedingas the one done at the Kuala Lumpur War Crime Tribunal would certainly put into question their credibility and put pressure on the ICC.

What was done in Kuala Lumpur may not be seen as insignificant and of immediate impact. In fact, it can be described as an effort doom to fail. But without such initiative by Dr Mahathir, the victims and killing will continue and got worse. Alas as Confucious say, "The journey of a thousand miles began with the first step."

Till we hear the decisions and deliberations of the Tribunal within about two months time circa early next year, we must all create public awareness and chip in to the effort to "Criminalise War!"

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