The eight accused persons were charged with the crime of torture, that they had wilfully participated in the formulation of executive orders and directives to exclude the applicability of international conventions and laws, namely Convention against Torture 1984, Geneva Convention 1949, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter, in relation to the war launched by the US and others in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in March 2003. Additionally, and/or on the basis and in furtherance thereof, the accused authorised, connived in, the commission of acts of torture and cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment against victims in violation of international law, treaties and aforesaid conventions.
The tribunal heard testimony from victims of torture:
Earlier in the week, the tribunal heard the testimonies of three witnesses namely Abbas Abid, Moazzam Begg and Jameelah Hameedi. They related the horrific tortures they had faced during their incarceration. The tribunal also heard two other Statutory Declarations of Iraqi citizen Ali Shalal and Rhuhel Ahmed, a British citizen.
Testimony showed that Abbas Abid, a 48-year-old chief engineer in the Science and Technology Ministry had his fingernails removed by pliers. Ali Shalal was attached with bare electrical wires and electrocuted and hung from the wall. Moazzam Begg was beaten and put in solitary confinement. Jameelah was almost nude and humiliated, used as a human shield whilst being transported by helicopter. All these witnesses have residual injuries till today.
These witnesses were taken prisoners and held in prisons in Afghanistan (Bagram), in Iraq (Abu Gharib, Baghdad International Airport) and two of them namely Moazzam Begg and Rhuhel Ahmed were transported to Guantanamo Bay.
The president of the tribunal Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd Yunus Lamin announced their findings noting that the Tribunal does not have the power to enforce or impose sentences but will submit its findings to the ICC:
President Lamin told a packed courtroom: “As a tribunal of conscience, the Tribunal is fully aware that its verdict is merely declaratory in nature. The tribunal has no power of enforcement, no power to impose any custodial sentence on any one or more of the 8 convicted persons. What we can do, under Article 31 of Chapter VI of Part 2 of the Charter is to recommend to the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission to submit this finding of conviction by the Tribunal, together with a record of these proceedings, to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.
“The Tribunal also recommends to the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission that the names of all the 8 convicted persons be entered and included in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and be publicised accordingly.
“The Tribunal recommends to the War Crimes Commission to give the widest international publicity to this conviction and grant of reparations, as these are universal crimes for which there is a responsibility upon nations to institute prosecutions if any of these Accused persons may enter their jurisdictions”.
While the Tribunal may not have the power to enforce, it’s findings do remind us that there is an internationally adopted legal framework for judging the actions of nations in war — and perhaps will remind the Obama administration that they may face the same repercussions for their own war crimes.