Former President George W. Bush is now an international war criminal. Just last week he and several members of his administration were convicted of war crimes -- the first conviction of its kind ever.
Bush, former V.P. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were all convicted in abenstia by a Malaysian tribunal in Kuala Lumpur. Granted, this isn't a powerful country who held this trial, and the conviction won't do much, and it's mostly symbolic...but it will send a clear message to the United States that it is not above international law. The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission convicted the eight men after a five-day hearing where witnesses testified regarding torture techniques used on prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.
One of the prosecutors was Francis Boyle, international law professor at University of Illinois College of Law. Of Bush, he said, "We tried three times to get Bush in Canada but were thwarted by the Canadian Government, then we scared Bush out of going to Switzerland."
The trial was based on the principles set out in the Nuremburg Charter, of which the U.S. is subject to. The commission has sent all documents and transcripts to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council. What does this mean for President Bush and his cabinet members? Well, take a look at former Chilean dictator Augustin Pinochet. Just eight years after he was out of power, he was arrested in Britain and extradited to Spain to be tried for war crimes.
This means, in essence, that these men may never be safe outside of the United States for the rest of their lives. No international travel, unless they wish to risk being arrested, tried, and thrown in jail for the crimes they absolutely did commit against not just the Guantanamo prisoners, but against the soldiers they sent to die, the innocent people who were killed as a result of an unnecessary war, and the countries they needlessly invaded.
Many of the former prisoners who testified said they continue to experience injuries from the torture they underwent at the hands of the U.S. government. Clearly, during his tenure as POTUS, George W. Bush flouted the Geneva Conventions against torture, rationalizing the injuries, suffering, and trauma of oftentimes innocent victims who were guilty of nothing more than being suspicious.
It is time for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their former advisors to face the music and answer for their crimes against peace, civil rights, and human decency.
Â©2012 Reno Berkeley for Gather News.