A tribunal in Malaysia, spearheaded by that nation’s former Prime Minister, yesterday found George Bush and Tony Blair guilty of “crimes against peace” and other war crimes for their 2003 aggressive attack on Iraq, as well as fabricating pretexts used to justify the attack. [...]
The tribunal ruled that Bush and Blair’s name should be entered in a register of war criminals, urged that they be recognized as such under the Rome Statute, and will also petition the International Criminal Court to proceed with binding charges. Such efforts are likely to be futile, but one Malaysian lawyer explained the motives of the tribunal to The Associated Press: “For these people who have been immune from prosecution, we want to put them on trial in this forum to prove that they committed war crimes.” In other words, because their own nations refuse to hold them accountable and can use their power to prevent international bodies from doing so, the tribunal wanted at least formal legal recognition of these war crimes to be recorded and the evidence of their guilt assembled. That’s the same reason a separate panel of this tribunal will hold hearings later this year on charges of torture against Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others.
Here’s what I find striking about this. Virtually every Serious political and media elite in America, by definition, would scoff at this tribunal; few things are considered more fringe or ludicrous than the notion that George Bush and Tony Blair should be punished as war criminals just because they aggressively attacked another nation and caused the deaths of at least 150,000 innocent people and the displacement of millions more. But the only thing this Malaysian tribunal is doing is applying the clear principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal as enunciated by lead prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney General Robert Jackson in his Opening and Closing Statements at Nuremberg [..].