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Bush, Blair Found Guilty of War Crimes November 23, 2011

November 23, 2011

by legitgov


Bush, Blair Found Guilty of War Crimes 23 Nov 2011 A War Crimes Tribunal in Malaysia has found former US President [sic] George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair guilty of war crimes for their roles in the Iraq war, Press TV reports. The five-panel Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal decided that Bush and Blair committed genocide and crimes against humanity by leading the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a Press TV correspondent reported on Tuesday. The Malaysian tribunal judges ruled that the decision to wage war against Iraq by the two former heads of government was a flagrant abuse of law and an act of aggression that led to large-scale massacres of the Iraqi people.

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Trial of Khmer Rouge Leaders Starts in Phnom Penh November 21, 2011

On Monday the long-awaited trial of three surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge opened in Phnom Penh. This week the tribunal hears opening arguments by the prosecution and by the defense. The three accused are charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The hearings opened Monday with judges reading out the names of the three accused senior Khmer Rouge leaders and the charges they face.

The list of alleged crimes is long and includes murder, extermination, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, persecution and willful killing, among others.

For the nearly 4,000 civil parties – or victims recognized by the United Nations-backed tribunal – this day has been a long time coming.

Some of them were present Monday at the court, including Cambodian-American Neou Sarem, a former journalist with VOA’s Khmer Service, who returned to Cambodia in recent days to be present at the start of the trial.

She was in court today to see the leaders on trial, and says she feels some pity for the elderly defendants. “Because they used to be big shots in the Khmer Rouge time, and they were like a god who ordered you can die, you can survive by their order, and now it’s their turn to be in the court,” she said.

A week ago the court was set to try four defendants – the last surviving leaders of Cambodia’s notorious Khmer Rouge movement.

But last Thursday the tribunal ruled that Ieng Thirith, the former social affairs minister, was suffering from dementia and was unfit for trial.

Her husband, former foreign minister Ieng Sary, is one of the three remaining defendants, along with Nuon Chea, known as Brother Number Two and regarded as the movement’s chief ideologue, and former head of state Khieu Samphan.

The three deny charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes for their alleged roles in devising the policies that led to the deaths of around two million people between 1975 and 1979.

Neou Sarem says seeing them on trial shows that those who commit such crimes will not escape prosecution. But being here has proved challenging.

“And then I feel like I live again in the Khmer Rouge regime – and I feel the suffering of other people. I feel the suffering of my Mum, you know, who get killed by the Khmer Rouge who get the horse and dragged her because she stole food for my daughters,” Sarem said. “So it seems like bad memories come back again and again.”

Last July, the U.N.-backed tribunal convicted prison warden Kaing Guek Eav for war crimes and other offenses and sentenced him to 35 years in prison. The current trial of the accused top leaders is seen as more complicated, partly because the defendants, unlike Kaing Guek Eav, maintain their innocence.

International co-prosecutor Andre Cayley spoke last week ahead of the start of Case 002 about why the case is so significant. 

“The first thing is that we are dealing with nearly two million dead, so there isn’t anybody in this country that has been unaffected by what happened during the Khmer Rouge period,” said Cayley. “So I think there are a great many Cambodians that are interested in the outcome.”

Given the complexity of the case, the age of the defendants – who are all in their 80s – and their health, the tribunal decided to divide it into a series of smaller trials.

That will allow it to hand down judgments as it proceeds, and reduces the risk that one or more of the defendants could die without a ruling being issued – as happened at the trial of the former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.

The first mini-trial examines the alleged crimes against humanity in the forced movement of people.

That refers to two events in 1975, the year Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia and drove everyone out of the towns and cities. Later that year they forced hundreds of thousands to move across the country into work camps.

The prosecution says tens of thousands of people died during those moves. Cayley says when the alleged offenses took place adds to the trial’s significance. 

“I also think it is important in the interests of international justice generally because it’s certainly part of the fight against impunity,” he said. “We are looking at crimes that are 30 years old. I’m quite certain that at the time the leaders of the Khmer Rouge never believed they would be held to account for what happened, and here we actually have the most senior living members of the Khmer Rouge who will be standing trial.”

In a fortnight, the court will start hearing evidence against the three. This first mini-trial is expected to take two years.

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Poll shows Herman Cain narrowly ahead in Iowa Republican race October 31, 2011

The Republican presidential hopefuls Herman Cain and Mitt Romney are almost neck and neck in the early voting state of Iowa and have far outstripped their competitors, a poll has shown.

The survey, carried out by the Des Moines Register, demonstrates the rapidly shifting fortunes of the Republican candidates. The Texas governor, Rick Perry – a frontrunner in September – attracted just 7% of support, with Cain on 23% and Romney 22%. The poll also revealed that the vast majority of voters remain undecided.

In recent weeks, Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, has emerged as the frontrunner for Republican presidential candidate.

The poll comes less than 10 weeks before Iowa Republicans cast the nation’s first votes for the Republican nominee.

Speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Cain defended his recent controversial campaign advertisement which showed his campaign manager smoking, before exhorting Americans not to smoke.

Cain also said his remark that he would like to defend the US from illegal immigrants with a “moat full of alligators” had been a joke. “That was totally in jest,” he added, saying he would “tone down my sense of humour until I become president, because America needs to get a sense of humour”.

But he defended his comments that the sex education charity Planned Parenthood should be called “planned genocide” because it was putting centres in black communities in order to facilitate abortions.

“In [founder] Margaret Sanger’s own words … she didn’t use the word genocide, but she talked about preventing the increasing number of poor blacks in this country by preventing black babies from being born,” he said.

Cain, who has been to Iowa only once since August, said he had “done so well because I’m connecting with the people”.

On Sunday night allegations emerged that two women at the National Restaurant Association had complained of sexual harassment by Cain when he was running the organisation in the 1990s. They eventually left with financial settlements, according to Cain has denied any wrongdoing, with his campaign dismissing the “old and tired allegations” and saying the matter had been resolved amicably among all concerned.

The Iowa poll also revealed a precipitous plunge in support for the Tea party favourite Michele Bachmann, an Iowa native, putting her in fourth place, with 8%. Unlike Cain and Romney, Bachmann has been campaigning heavily in the state in recent weeks.

Her Iowa campaign manager, Eric Woolson, said he was confident she would still win the primary in January.

“Poll numbers have bounced up and down on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis,” Woolson said. “We’ll see much more of that before caucus night – but one thing I’m convinced of is that Michele Bachmann will come out on top on 3 January.”

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Civilians accuse NATO of massacre in Sirte raids October 2, 2011

October 1, 2011

by legitgov


Civilians accuse NATO of massacre in Sirte raids 28 Sep 2011 The civilians pouring out of the besieged city of Sirte accused NATO of genocide yesterday as rebel forces called in reinforcements and prepared for a fresh assault on Muammar Gaddafi’s home town… Rebel forces fighting for the National Transitional Council added artillery and mortar fire. The people leaving the town, many looking scared, said conditions inside Sirte were disastrous. They made claims which, if verified, are a challenge for NATO – which operates under a UN mandate to protect civilians – saying the NATO bombing raids hit homes, schools and hospitals.

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