Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) last week urged the Canadian government to investigate and arrest former US president George W. Bush for his role in torture, ahead of his travel to an economic summit in British Columbia. AI’s submission to Canadian authorities emphasizes Bush’s authorization of “enhanced interrogation techniques” including waterboarding, which Bush has admitted.
Pressing obligations under international law, HRW urged:
There is overwhelming evidence that Bush and other senior administration officials authorized and implemented a regime of torture and ill-treatment of hundreds of detainees in US custody, including at least two Canadian citizens. Under the Convention against Torture, Canada is obligated to prosecute individuals suspected of committing torture found in its territory if other countries have failed to do so. The Obama administration has failed to investigate allegations of involvement in torture by Bush or other senior administration officials, and none are expected.
The Canadian government rejected AI’s call to arrest the former head of state calling it a cheap stunt.
Calls for the investigation or arrest of former president Bush have largely been rejected. In February, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the European Center for Human Rights (ECCHR) urged the signatory states of the UN Convention Against Torture to pursue criminal charges against the former president. The call came as the rights groups announced that two criminal complaints were to be filed in Switzerland against Bush before he canceled his trip to the country. Bush’s secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld has also faced possible criminal charges in Europe, when, in 2007, a war crimes complaint was filed against him in Germany for his involvement in detainee treatment. The case was later dismissed.
From Jurist, Oct. 14. Used with permission.
See our last post on the struggle in torture scandals.