Rights groups urge Canada to arrest ex-US president Bush ahead of visit

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.

  1. Bush, Blair to face Malaysia war crimes trial?
    George Bush and Tony Blair are to go on trial in absentia in Malaysia next week on charges brought by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, which collected complaints from Iraq war victims and survivors. The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission was launched in 2008 by Malaysia ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad as an alternative to the Internal Criminal Court, which he charged was not addressing US and Israeli war crimes Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. (Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War, Oct. 28; AFP, Jan. 27, 2007)

  2. File under “not exactly a surprise”…
    The Malaysian Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War on Nov. 21 found former US president George W. Bush and former UK prime minister Tony Blair guilty of war crimes after a symbolic trial. The duo was found guilty on charges in connection to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq after a four-day hearing. The trials, headed by former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad, a vocal critic of the Iraq conflict since its inception, have no enforcement power under international or domestic rule of law. Nonetheless, the tribunal plans to try other prominent political figures of the war, including former vice president Dick Cheney and former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld. (Jurist, Nov. 23)

  3. Wackjobs try war criminals.
    As much we as love the idea of Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney on trial, even a symbolic one, Mahathir Muhammed is of course a notorious wackjob. A blogger on Daily Kos treats us to some classic examples of his 9-11 conspiranoia, rank anti-Semitism, et al. He also notes that the “tribunal” was presided over by Francis Boyle, who as we have noted has been getting increasingly wacky in recent years.

    So it is the usual dilemma—the failure of the International Criminal Court to put Bush & co on trial (and yes, we understand the obvious obstacles to this) loans legitimacy to wackjobs and their odious theories and doctrines. It also allows the partisans of Qaddafi, Karadzic, et al to plausibly gripe that the system is rigged…

  4. Another one for the “not exactly a surprise” file…
    From Mathaba, May 11:

    Bush & Associates Found Guilty of Torture
    KUALA LUMPUR — The five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered a guilty verdict against former United States President George W. Bush and his associates at the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal hearing that had started on Monday, May 7th.

    On the charge of Crime of Torture and War Crimes, the tribunal finds the accused persons former U.S. President George W. Bush and his associates namely Richard Cheney, former U.S. Vice President, Donald Rumsfeld, former Defence Secretary, Alberto Gonzales, then Counsel to President Bush, David Addington, then General Counsel to the Vice-President, William Haynes II, then General Counsel to Secretary of Defence, Jay Bybee, then Assistant Attorney General, and John Choon Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney-General guilty as charged and convicted as war criminals for Torture and Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment of the Complainant War Crime Victims.

    Earlier in the week, the tribunal heard the testimonies of three witnesses namely Abbas Abid, Moazzam Begg and Jameelah Hameedi. They related the horrific tortures they had faced during their incarceration. The tribunal also heard two other Statutory Declarations of Iraqi citizen Ali Shalal and Rhuhel Ahmed, a British citizen.