First of all, is this true? It's difficult to find many journalistic sources that covered this. The article lists two Malaysian news sites as sources: one, The Star and two, The Malaysia Sun. The second link returns an ISP error for story.malaysiasun.com. Also, looking up the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Comission on wikipedia gives this article, including this section on convictions invoking universal jurisdiction:
- In May 2012 after hearing testimony for a week from victims of torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the tribunal unanimously convicted in absentia former President Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former Deputy Assistant Attorneys General John Yoo and Jay Bybee, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former counselors David Addington and William Haynes II of conspiracy to commit war crimes, specifically torture. The tribunal referred their findings to the chief prosecutor at the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
From the article:
- Victims of torture told a panel of five judges in Kuala Lumpur of their suffering at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among the evidence, Briton Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee, said he was beaten, put in a hood and left in solitary confinement. Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi said she was stripped and humiliated in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
Transcripts of the five-day trial will be sent to the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, the United Nations and the Security Council.
This occurred before the US released the torture report, however it sounds like the testimony given there was from whatever witnesses/survivors they could summon.
From the wikipedia article on the KLWCT:
- The former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Param Cumaraswamy, has suggested the tribunal is a private enterprise with no legal basis and questions its legitimacy. The tribunal does not have a UN mandate or recognition, no power to order arrests or impose sentences, and it is unclear that its verdicts have any but symbolic significance.
A statement on the tribunal's website states: "In the event the tribunal convicts any of the accused, the only sanction is that the name of the guilty person will be entered in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and publicized worldwide."
Obviously this court has no teeth, or is a kangaroo court, or both, depending on your perspective. I just thought it was interesting through all the bloviations over US torture practices, and if anyone should be held accountable, I never heard the KLWCT mentioned once, in jest or in passing, nor do I ever recall hearing about it in 2012 when it happened either. I know the US has laws exempting US citizens from the purview of the ICC, but would that same protection technically extend to the KLWCT as well? Does anybody have more reputable information about what testimony was heard there? Looking up the sources from wikipedia yields quite a few "Page not found" errors. What do you think about this bit of political theater? How is the KLWCT regarded by Malaysians? Do you think this has anything to do with the "pivot to Asia" that has been bandied about in the last year or two?