Wed, Feb 07, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Mahathir labels Bush and Blair `child killers'

TOUGH TALKING Last week the former Malaysian prime minister said he would set up an unofficial war crimes tribunal to focus on victims of abuse in Iraq and Lebanon

AFP , KUALA LUMPUR

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad condemned British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush as "child killers" and "war criminals" as he launched an anti-war conference on Monday.

Mahathir, who has been nominated by Bosnian civil society groups for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for helping the country after its bloody civil war, said the pair should be put on trial for their military action in Iraq.

"History should remember Blair and Bush as the killers of children or the lying prime minister and president. What Bush and Blair had done is worse than what Saddam had done," he said, referring to hanged former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Mahathir also turned his scorn on Australian Prime Minister John Howard, deriding him as the "pocket Bush of the bushlands of Australia."

The 81-year-old firebrand was a strident critic of the West during his two decades in power.

Last week he unveiled plans for an unofficial war crimes tribunal to focus on victims of abuse in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, saying that the existing international court was biased.

This week's war crimes conference will be attended by some 17 Palestinians, Iraqis and Lebanese, who allege they are the victims of abuse and torture.

Mahathir has said he will also form a new war crimes commission, to be located in Kuala Lumpur, which will investigate their cases and then refer them to the tribunal if warranted.

"We should not hang Blair if the tribunal finds him guilty, but he should always carry the label `war criminal,' `killer of children,' `liar.'" Mahathir said in his speech.

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