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47725FYI: Tribunal to take up Iraqi case

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    Nov 1, 2009

      Tribunal to take up Iraqi case


      By R. Sittamparam

      KUALA LUMPUR: War victims now have another avenue to seek justice for atrocities suffered at the hands of bully powers -- the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal.

      The tribunal will help victims to seek redress for their sufferings and pressure the international community to ostracise their oppressors.

      The tribunal will set the ball rolling by hearing the case of victims of the Iraq invasion by the United States and its allies in two months.

      The president of the tribunal, comprising seven local and international judges, retired Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman, yesterday approved an application from the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission for it to hear the cases. 

      Speaking at the close of the tribunal hearing here yesterday, Kadir said: "After hearing submissions from the applicants, we're unanimous this tribunal has jurisdiction to consider the application."

      He said the tribunal also gave its opinion that a head of government cannot unilaterally exempt himself from complying with the provisions of international law such as the Geneva Conventions. 

      "International humanitarian laws cannot be revoked by any government leader," he said.

      Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is chairman of both the Perdana Global Peace Organisation and Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War, which organised the tribunal, said if the hearing found the war crimes to be true, the decision would be forwarded to the International Court of Justice and United Nations' member countries and other non-governmental organisations.

      He said although the tribunal could not enforce the law on any government or leader, it could garner the support of the international community to ostracise him.

      Asked if the tribunal would hear cases of war crimes against the Tamils in Sri Lanka, Dr Mahathir said if the cases were brought to it, it would hear them.