A glow in the dark… a global peace effort by a treasured son from Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir’s keynote address at the third series of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO) conference this morning was 70 paragraphs long, taking him some 60 minutes to deliver. It’s titled: Criminalising War.
It was an impactful presentation as he had cleverly interspersed the speech with two well-crafted video clips, one on the horrors of depleted uranium (DU), and the other on what was inside the infamous Abu Ghraib prison and human torture.
Despite his age at 81, Mahathir is still a deft hand in reading from the tele-prompter, effortlessly. That made his well-knitted thoughts perfectly articulated with numerous emphatic pauses and accentuations at the right places.
According to Malaysiakini, some 3,000 people had packed the Merdeka Hall of the Putra Wold Trade Center (PWTC), while about 1,000 people were outside the hall watching his speech on the large television monitors.
This series of the PGPO Conference is a follow through to The Kuala Lumpur Initiative to Criminalise War which concluded last year.
At the end of the conference, a declaration will be made to invite international jurists of repute to establish an International War Crimes Tribunal, where laws and its jurisdiction will be proposed.
People-run Tribunal for War Crimes
Mahathir said conventions such as the Geneva Convention had been inadequate in identifying crimes of warmongers who ultimately caused brutalities in countries they waged wars in.
Mahathir also underscored the fact that laws, the concept of laws, justice and jurisdiction of national laws have changed over time.
“Now, certain nations enforce their laws extra-territory,” he added. “The US invaded Panama to capture Noreiga and to bring him before a US court for trial and punishment under US laws.”
Hence in the case of criminalising war, he added, laws must now be enacted not by the Government, but by the people, their organisations and the jurists.
“In a world where powerful countries can decide on regime change for other countries, the laws that are designed to criminalise wars are no more unusual than the regime change laws, the laws to legitimise the attacks against Afghanistan and Iraq, the extra-territorial laws,” Mahathir said.
“These laws of the people are as legitimate as can be,” he added.
Blair, Bush and ‘pocket’ Bush
The key task of the Tribunal is to try, in absentia if necessary, the war criminals as identified by the victims and the countries which have suffered from ther attacks ordered by the leaders of the invading countries identified.
Not mincing his words, Mahathir had cited George Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard as targets for trial by the Tribunal for their roles in waging atrocities in modern Iraq.
“Bush and Blair are now totally reviled and condemned by the world and by their own people,” he said. “To a certain extent, they have been tried and sentenced by their own people and media.”
He equated that as a trial in absentia.
However, should the trio be found guilty by the people’s Tribunal, death sentence was obviously not on his mind. Quote:
History should remember Blair and Bush as the Killer of Children or as the Lying Prime Minister and President. What Blair and Bush had done is worse that what Saddam had done. We should not hang Blair if the Tribunal finds him guilty but he should always carry the label War Criminal, Killer of Children, Liar.
And so should Bush and the pocket Bush of the bushlands of Australia.
Mahathir said war criminals tried and found guilty by the Tribunal should be remembered for the crimes against humanity, for the people they kill, and the destruction they wrought. Quote:
“People and the NGO’s for peace should make these War Criminals feel unwelcome wherever they go. They should be literally hounded. They should have full frontal and profile pictures put up everywhere as war criminals.
And historians should always refer to them as War Criminals in history books.”
Knowing that truth about war is being muffled by ‘lies and propaganda’ of powerful media corporations ‘owned and controlled by warmongers’, Mahathir called for the establishment of an international network of activists and groups to counter such media-slanting to ensure that the people know the truth about war.
The 3-day conference will see scores of internationally-renowned researchers and specialists, present and former government officials, journalists and lawyers speak on the horrors of war and the ‘global military-industrial-financial-media’ complex behind global conflicts, Malaysiakini reported.
LensaPress photos by Jeff Ooi
In conclusion, Mahathir described war, a form of organised crime, as primitive and not in keeping with the stage of human civilisation we are in.
In pushing for the new approach to criminalise war crimes, Mahathir reasoned that a respectable and totally impartial Tribunal applying recognised laws will find its findings respected by the world, “just as the world respects the Nobel Laureates”.
It was made known yesterday that Mahathir has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2007 by four organisations in Bosnia-Herzegovina.