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President Bush is being “indicted” for war crimes allegedly committed against the Afghan people since the U.S.-led coalition began its antiterrorism campaign in October 2001, a group of Japanese lawyers announced.

“We believe that attacks on Afghanistan led by the U.S. forces, such as aerial bombings and killings, were a violation of international law,” said Haruhisa Takase, secretary general of the Tokyo-based International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan.

The lawyers are a nongovernmental private group and have neither official status nor authority, according to Takase. The “indictment” was a device meant to signify the lawyers’ condemnation of U.S. actions in Afghanistan, he said.

Takase contends Bush also may be liable for bombing private facilities and slaying war prisoners.

The lawyers’ group said a “civic tribunal” will be held in Tokyo, with the first hearing scheduled for July 21. The group said its specific complaints include what it contends were U.S. acts of aggression, attacks against civilians and nonmilitary facilities and torture and execution of prisoners.

“It is a civil tribunal, so it is not binding,” Takase said. “For this reason, I believe we can morally carry out the tribunal.” He said the group will attempt to hand its indictment to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on Wednesday.

A U.S. Embassy official in Tokyo said last Thursday he has heard no reaction from Washington to the planned action. However, he said, the Embassy would accept the group’s indictment document if presented.

The tribunal is being organized by Tokyo Zokei University professor Akira Maeda and will include various professors and lawyers as tribunal committee members, prosecutors and judges.

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