(CNSNews.com) - A coalition of anti-war activists calling itself the "International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration" announced Wednesday that it has found President Bush "guilty" of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Neither the commission, nor its verdict, holds any legal authority.
The group's findings - based on testimony given during hearings held in New York City in January - were released on the ninth day of Camp Democracy, a 17-day anti-war, anti-Bush administration protest being held on the National Mall.
Forty-five witnesses testified before the commission, including Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the former commander of Abu Ghraib prison, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter.
In its 51-page report, the commission found Bush guilty on 20 counts in five categories: waging a war of aggression against Iraq, authorizing torture, furthering global warming, attacking global health and failing to address the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The report acknowledges that the commission "is not a court of law with power to impose sanctions," but maintains that the mock trial was "an instrumentality of world humanity [that] arises from the historical, moral and political responsibility of people of conscience to sit in judgment of this administration."
C. Clark Kissinger is a writer for the Revolutionary Communist Party's (RCP) newspaper, Revolution, who convened the Bush Crimes Commission. He tried to convince reporters and protesters Wednesday that there was no predetermined bias among the jurists hearing the testimony.
"We did not proceed from the fact that we did or did not like George Bush and his policies," Kissinger said. "We proceeded from the fact that objectively there are such things as war crimes and crimes against humanity and we had to apply those criteria to decide what to prosecute the administration for [sic]."
Kissinger said he wanted the public to understand "that we actually worked from very clear standards."
The commission found that the war in Iraq constitutes an illegal war of aggression and that the administration's positions on treatment of captured terrorists, global warming, abstinence-only sex education, and its response to Hurricane Katrina amount to "crimes against humanity."
But some who support the findings are worried that commission organizers have ulterior motives.
"It is my belief, and [that of] many others ... that both these [organizations] are front groups of the RCP [Revolutionary Communist Party] and in fact were initiated by the RCP leadership," peace activist Jerry Olek said, referring to the commission and to one of its sponsoring groups, World Can't Wait.
Olek told Cybercast News Service that he is a "firm believer in the fact that this president is guilty of those things that the commission uncovered." But he expressed concern that Kissinger and Larry Everest, another writer for Revolution involved in the commission, are "key leaders of the RCP."
"My concern," Olek concluded, "is that the RCP is using, manipulating the legitimate peace movement concerns for their own strategic objectives - overthrowing democratic government and establishing socialism, communism."
The White House, which has previously declined to comment on the commission, did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
See Earlier Story:
Anti-War Group Touts 'Indictments' Against Bush
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