All nations should peacefully resolve conflicts: Mahathir Mohamad

Bassem Aly , Sunday 19 May 2013

War should be criminalised, says Malaysia's former prime minister. Only then could the world be deemed 'civilised'

Mahathir Mohamad
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (Photo: Reuters)

Mahatir Mohamed, ex-Malaysian prime minister, has called on states all over the world to peacefully resolve their disputes without resorting to war and its heavy costs.

“If you kill one person you will be hanged, but you can kill thousands under the claim of war, which we regard as legitimate despite being a crime in itself,” Mohamed said during his speech at a conference organised by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Sunday. 

“You can kill women, children and babies and say you are at war. Today, all people are at risk of dying with bombs, or losing their fathers, mothers or any members of their families,” he added.

Mohamed asserted that a “struggle” is currently needed in order to “make war an international crime.”

He mentioned political negotiations and arbitration, under the umbrella of international law, as the only acceptable means for settling conflicts between states, pointing out that Malaysia counted on such methods to settle its old conflicts with Thailand and Indonesia.  

“We decided to enhance economic cooperation with Thailand, while an international court emphasised the right of Malaysia to possess two islands previously under dispute with Indonesia,” he stated.

Mohamed warned against possibilities of war in Asia due to disputes between Japan on the one side and North Korea and China on the other.

“Since wars are not regarded as a crime, the world cannot be regarded as civilised yet,” he concluded.

Mohamed was the longest-serving prime minister of the largely Muslim state of Malaysia, occupying the post from 1981 to 2003. His tenure was defined by substantial infrastructure projects.

He is also the founder of the Perdana Global Peace Foundation, which advocates for putting an end to wars and paving the way for global peace.

The foundation calls for the criminalisation of all commercial, financial, industrial and scientific activities that aid and abet war.

It believes that all national leaders who initiate aggression must be subjected to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

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