A prominent lawyer says internationally sought after war criminals, former US president George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, will eventually be brought to justice for their heinous crimes against humanity.

Interview with international lawyer, Francis Boyle

" You know the wheels of justice might turn slowly but they do turn and I feel confident that at some point we’ll be seeing Bush and Blair in the dock somewhere. If I don’t get them some other lawyer will get them.”


 A prominent lawyer says internationally sought after war criminals, former US president George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, will eventually be brought to justice for their heinous crimes against humanity.

Press TV has conducted an interview with international lawyer Francis Boyle to further discuss the issue.

The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: I guess my first question is how does international criminal law define the concept of war crime?

Boyle: Well, obviously it’s a very technical issue in our proceedings in Malaysia, our twofold proceedings, the first against [former US president George W.] Bush and [Tony] Blair for a Nuremberg crime against peace, for their war of aggression against Iraq and that those proceedings went on for a good two days of argumentation to present our case before we won.

And then the second set of proceedings against Bush, [Dick] Cheney, [Donald] Rumsfeld, [John] Ashcroft and their lawyers for torture of Arab, Muslim, Asian men in Guantanamo, Iraq, in Afghanistan that took five days to go through all the evidence and legal argumentation.

Today you can see a succinct statement of war crimes in the Rome statute for the International Criminal Court but of course, that’s not all of them and in addition when that Rome statute was drawn up the United States Ambassador Schefter went in there and did damage control, damage limitation to significantly reduce the amount and extent of coverage. So the ICC statute would be a good place to start but that’s not the end of the matter.

Press TV: So how significant were the Nuremburg trials in establishing the principles of international law regarding war and genocide and so forth and did they eventually begin a process that led to the formation of the ICC?

Boyle: Of course, without Nuremburg there was the idea that the United States, we would not have the international criminal court today and we would not have most of the laws of war, war crimes that we see today and again just to show you the current utility in Malaysia to prosecute Bush and Blair for war of aggression against Iraq and get them convicted, the heart of our case was the Nuremburg charter judgment and principles; their guilt for crime against peace in unassailable.

Press TV: According to the Nuremburg principle four, war crime is defined as planning, preparation and initiation or waging a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances. Based on this definition can the US and UK-led war of Iraq in 2024 be considered an instance of a war crime?

Boyle: Yes, that’s exactly what we argued in Malaysia for Bush and Blair. We got them both convicted of a Nuremburg crime against peace and you know just last week [South African social rights activist] Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu has publicly stated on the basis of our Malaysian verdict that both Bush and Blair should be prosecuted at the Hague and we are making efforts now to do this.

We try to get Bush in Switzerland but his lawyers advised him not to go to Switzerland. I tried three times to get Bush in Canada but unfortunately, the Canadian government protected Bush so we will keep after Bush and Blair for sure for crimes against peace, war crimes and torture in general; certainly, for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and the rest of them for torture.

Boyle: So we have these verdicts now in Malaysia. They’re the first verdicts given anywhere in the world against these individuals. I know your correspondent; Press TV’s Lauren Booth was there. She did very extensive reporting of these procedures and we have a whole team of lawyers there in Malaysia internationally. We will go after them.

Boyle:You know the wheels of justice might turn slowly but they do turn and I feel confident that at some point we’ll be seeing Bush and Blair in the dock somewhere. If I don’t get them some other lawyer will get them.

Press TV: Also based on the Nuremburg tribunal ‘murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the sea; killing of hostages; plunder of public or private property; wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages or devastation not justified by military necessity are also crimes against humanity.’

Now given their role in authorizing torture at Abu Ghraib [prison] and Guantanamo can the US-led officials within the Bush administration who are responsible for these tortures be charged with crimes against humanity and is complicity in such acts a breach of the Geneva conviction?

Boyle: Yes, this was the second round of proceedings in Malaysia that just concluded mid-May where the trust of that indictment; there were two charges; first Bush and Blair crime against peace and second, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and their lawyers for torture and war crimes and that was more extensive.

It took us five days of argumentation on both sides and we made most extensive use-- I was one of the co-prosecutors-- of the Nuremberg charter judgment principles, the Geneva conventions that prohibit torture and the convention against torture. So we did get a unanimous guilty verdict on all charges and we will continue to pursue these individuals and get them incarcerated somewhere.

Press TV: How important was the principle of starting a war of aggression or crime against peace in the proceedings at Nuremberg and was this the crime that led to the hanging of many leading Nazi generals at that time?

Boyle: Right well, Nuremberg was the idea of the United States government, we have to understand that. Stalin wanted to take out the top 50,000 Nazi leaders and shoot them; Churchill wanted to take out the top 5000 and shoot them. Roosevelt felt that what would be the difference then between us and them; that there should be a trial to process the law.

Now in the framing of the charges however it was felt that the most serious was the crime against peace because waging a war of aggression entailed in itself all of the other war crimes and crimes against humanity that come from it and that is why we started with Bush and Blair for waging a war of aggression, a Nuremburg crime against peace, against Iraq that had to be established right off the top of the ban; that was the most serious.

And then not to minimize any of the human suffering at all involved but then in the second charge to deal with torture and war crimes against humanity.

Press TV: So why haven’t they initiators of this war both in the US and UK administration, why haven’t they been brought any judiciary inquiries so far?

Boyle: Once again the United States government under the legal adviser Harold Koh pretty much gutted the capability of the international criminal court to prosecute Nuremburg crimes against peace or aggression.

So it was gutted by Koh but as for war crimes and crimes against humanity, yes, as a matter of fact I filed a complaint in 2024 against Bush, [Dick] Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, [George] Tenet, Condoleezza Rice and some of their lawyers for crimes against humanity for what they call extraordinary rendition which is really a policy of enforced disappearances of human beings in their torture, which when this policy becomes widespread or systematic and becomes a crime against humanity.

That complaint is still pending, my complaint against Bush and the rest of them at the international criminal court. My complaint was the first ever to survive so far at the court because the United States government is not a party to the Rome statute -- and I figured out the conundrum how do you hold the highest level officials to the United States government accountable when the United States is not a part of the Rome Statue.

It wasn’t easy to do that but I did that but I did it which is why my complaint is still alive up until my complaint every other complaint had been rejected on those grounds. I guess we have to see there is a new ICC prosecutor Madam [Fatou] Bensouda.

I don’t know what she’ll do with the complaint but we did take then the Malaysian proceedings the verdicts on both and all our evidence which is over there and file it with the international criminal court against these individuals. And every state in the world has jurisdiction to prosecute these individuals.

So if they travel out of United States of America for any reason they will be just like Pinochet there is not an entire army of lawyers chasing after them now. They are closing in on Blair over in the UK, you see the reaction to Tutu and his statement there.

Bush as I said he was going to go to Switzerland and the Swiss Parliamentarian demanded he be prosecuted if he showed up on the basis of my complaint that got back to Bush he did not show up. So we know we will keep after them. What can I say?

Press TV: What factors may prevent the prosecution of war criminals? I guess my question is are heads of state important in this regard?

Boyle: Sure it is all political. I mean look at the ICC prosecutions so far. All they have done is go after African thugs from Africa. They have not gone after American criminals, British criminals and Israeli criminals. I advised President Abbas to accept the jurisdiction of the international criminal court which he did and the previous [ICC] prosecutor [Luis] Moreno Ocampo just popped out saying I do not know if Palestine is a state or not. Palestine was just submitted to UNESCO how could you deny it being a state? It is ridiculous.

It was purely political. So he rejected the complaint by the Palestinians and he rejected the complaint against Tony Blair on Iraq. He did not reject my complaint he gave it off to his successor.

So it shows you the politics being played there at the international criminal court that so far they are just going after black thugs from Africa and not dealing with these wholesale mass murders and criminals from the United States, Britain and Israel.

Look at what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians and Moreno Ocampo refused to lift one finger to help them. Right now Israel is inflicting outright genocide on the Palestinians in Gaza and in Malaysia.

I advise Dr. Mahathir, I felt our next step should be Palestine. So there would be hearings in November in Malaysia on this and I have agreed to go back for that I know the Palestinians have always been close to Dr. Mahathir’s heart and I suspect he’ll move heaven and earth to help them.

Press TV: How significant was the destruction of Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 and the formation of law concerning war crimes and crimes against humanity?

Boyle: Look at Faluja, I have written an article on this the wanton devastation.; it’s right there in the Nuremburg charter under the definition of war crime and it says quite clearly the wanton devastation of cities, towns and villages is a Nuremburg war crime and I’ve argued that with what the United States under Bush did to Faluja, they just blew Faluja away or what Israel did in Gaza just murdered 14,000 for the most part completely innocent Palestinians in Gaza.

Press TV: So if the ICC hasn’t prosecuted George Bush and Tony Blair for starting an illegal war or being responsible for committing “war crimes” and crimes against humanity in Iraq can the ICC charge them with any breaches of international law?

Boyle: It would have to be genocide war crimes or crimes against humanity not general breaches of international law for that you have to go to the international court of justice, the world court which is also in the Hague and that is what I recommend the Islamic Republic of Iran do now to prevent an attack upon Iran by the United States, Britain, France and Israel and I would hope Iran would give serious consideration to this proposal.

Press TV: And finally the United States and its Western allies have been beating the drums of war against Iran similar to the way they were doing in Iraq. My final question is do you see any significant policy change in the Obama administration to that of his predecessor George W. Bush?

Boyle: I regret to say the answer is no despite the speech he gave in Cairo that was promising but we’re seeing in ten days massive naval maneuvers by the United States and NATO states right there in the Strait of Hormuz, right there up against Iranian territorial waters which Iran has rightly said we are prepared to defend our territorial waters and they have the right to do this.

The Strait of Hormuz is not an international strait or waterway that anyone can just sail through Iranian territorial waters. As you know there are two channels, one in and one out; in goes through Iranian territorial waters and if Iran wants to shut that down they can. The channel on the way out goes through the territorial waters of the UAE. Iran cannot shut that down.

But right now the US and the NATO states and Israel are all using this as a pretext to budge in Iran to do their will and my concern ten days from now when you have these massive naval maneuvers on both sides something could get out of hand or there could be a deliberate provocation by the United States and Britain which has happened before as you know in the [Persian] Gulf along lines the Tonkin Gulf resolution.

And we could have very serious hostilities between the United States and the Islamic Republic within the next ten days and so it would be my advice to the Islamic Republic that we sue at the world court immediately against the United States, Britain, France, Israel for a temporary restraining order against these governments and to stop these maneuvers and these threats that could lead to general warfare between the United States and Iran and the NATO states.

So this is a very dangerous, serious situation and even assuming that this is a deliberate provocation by the United States that Iran must understand it as such.

And my advice would be we, you know, Iran’s lawyers in The Hague, have my proposal on how to do these lawsuits and my best advice is we follow them right away and try to restraint these hostile provocative military maneuvers right off the Strait of Hormuz.










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