Tribunal to hear torture victims

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 01 Feb 2007

PUTRAJAYA: Some world leaders may go down in history as war criminals once they are found “guilty” by a tribunal initiated by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Perdana Global Peace Organisation. 

Several retired judges and practising lawyers have agreed to sit in the tribunal to hear complaints by victims who have been tortured in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. 

Among the judges are former Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Siti Norma Yaakob, former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman and law lecturer Prof Shad Faruqi. 

Dr Mahathir announced the formation of the tribunal in conjunction with the organisation’s conference on Expose War Crimes: Criminalise War next week. 

He said that although the tribunal had no legal authority, those accused and found guilty would be labelled as war criminals, ideally in history books. 

“The one punishment that leaders are afraid of is to go down in history with a certain label,'' he told a press conference here yesterday. 

“In history books they should be labelled as war criminals. This is the kind of punishment we can mete out to them. We can’t arrest, detain or punish them like the way they hanged Saddam Hussein.”  

Some 17 people – nine from Iraq, five from Palestine and three from Lebanon – will submit statutory declarations or give oral evidence to a war crimes commission headed by Dr Mahathir.  

The commission will decide whether there is a prima facie case to be brought to the tribunal. 

“The commission will investigate the veracity of the complaints, and when the commission views that there is a prima facie case it will ask for the tribunal to sit,” he added. 

On another issue, Dr Mahathir said the Government should buy a bigger jet for VIP official use. 

Dr Mahathir, who exhibited his usual sarcasm, said the leasing of the Airbus from Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd (PMB) was a “necessity.” 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said that the Government was leasing an Airbus from PMB as it was cheaper than buying one.  

He had also denied that the aircraft was only meant for use by the Prime Minister as it would also be used by the King. 

On the defamation suit against two bloggers by the NSTP, Dr Mahathir said bloggers should not break the law. 

“If you do something against the law, the law will take its course. I never break the law. This is a country that is administered according to the rule of law; everybody must respect the law.” 

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