Those who lobbied to have George W. Bush and Tony Blair tried for their role in the Iraq War have finally got their wish. Though the verdict of the court carries no legal weight, its supporters believe its symbolic value is beyond doubt.
The court in Malaysia where the trial took place may not have the power to convict, but the verdict against the former British and American leaders was unanimous.
“War criminals have to be dealt with – convict Bush and Blair as charged. A guilty verdict will serve as a notice to the world that war criminals may run but can never ultimately hide from truth and justice,” the statement from the Perdana Global Peace Foundation read.
The foundation was set up by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, who was always a staunch opponent of the war against the regime of Saddam Hussain in 2003. He previously branded Blair and Bush “child-killers”.
The tribunal, which consisted of a former federal judge and several academics, paid particular attention to the failure of the Western military to find a single weapon of mass destruction in Iraq. WMDs were cited by the Western coalition as a major reason for their military intervention. It also declared the war to be in contravention of the will of the United Nations.
“The evidence showed that the drums of war were being beaten long before the invasion. The accused in their own memoirs have admitted their intention to invade Iraq regardless of international law,” said the tribunal.
The tribunal has no powers of enforcement, and as yet there has been no response from Bush or Blair. But the Perdana Peace Foundation says it hopes to maintain pressure from the international community on the two leaders, both of whom have now retired from domestic politics.
Meanwhile, Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of Defence during the Iraq War, is next on the list to have his case heard by the mock court.