Sun, Apr 27, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Mahathir calls for war crimes tribunal for US, UK leaders

AFP , LONDON

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad called on Friday for an international tribunal to try Western leaders for war crimes over the war in Iraq, a spokesman for the organizers said.

In a speech at Imperial College, Mahathir called for a tribunal to try US President George W. Bush and former prime ministers Tony Blair of Britain and John Howard of Australia for their part in the conflict, said a spokesman for the Muslim group the Ramadhan Foundation, which organized the event.

The spokesman, Mohammed Shafiq, said that Mahathir, who was in office from 1981 to 2003, wants to see the trio tried “in absence for war crimes committed in Iraq.”

“[The speech] was a opportunity for students to put a range of questions about war crimes and the international situation. He said that people have to stop killing each other and use arbitration, negotiation and discussion as an alternative to violence, war and killing,” the spokesman said.

On the war in Iraq, Mahathir spoke about “the thousands dying, the economic war, the power of oil and how we could utilize some of these tools to have a leverage against the people who commit countries to war,” Shafiq said.

He purposely did not speak about or answer questions from students on the political situation in Malaysia, Shafiq said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is facing growing demands to quit, following an unprecedented electoral setback last month.

More than 450 people attended the speech and about 200 more had to be turned away.

Mahathir was in Cuba earlier this week to take part in the first International Conference of the Cuban Center for Studies on Defense Information.

The Ramadhan Foundation is a leading British Muslim youth organization working for peaceful co-existence and dialogue between communities.

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