Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCT), also known as the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, is a Malaysian organisation established in 2007 by Mahathir Mohamad to investigate war crimes. The KLWCC was instigated as an alternative to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which Mahathir accused of bias in its selection of cases to cover. The tribunal does not have United Nations recognition and its verdicts are only symbolic.
The governance body of the KLWCT was established to oversee and investigate complaints from victims of wars and armed conflict in relation to crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other like offences as recognized under International Law. Members of the governance body include:
- Mahathir Mohamad (Chairman)
- Alfred Webre
- Richard Falk
- Zacharia Yatim - retired Malaysian Federal Court judge
- Tunku Sofiah Jewa - lawyer and author of numerous publications on International Law
- Salleh Buang - former Federal Counsel in the Attorney-General Chambers
- Niloufer Bhagwat
- Shad Saleem Faruqi - prominent academic and professor of law.
Convictions invoking universal jurisdiction
In November 2011 the tribunal purportedly exercised universal jurisdiction to try in absentia former US President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, convicting both for crimes against peace because of what the tribunal concluded was the unlawful invasion of Iraq.
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.
In November 2013, the tribunal found the State of Israel guilty of genocide of the Palestinian people and convicted former Israeli general Amos Yaron for crimes against humanity and genocide for his involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacre.
Legitimacy of the tribunal
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 more than 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."
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- The Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) - Affiliated organization also founded by Mahathir Mohamad