Former U.S. President George W. Bush has cancelled a visit to Switzerland, where he was to address a Jewish charity gala, due to the risk of legal action against him for alleged torture, rights groups said on Saturday.The New York Times has more:
Bush was to be the keynote speaker at Keren Hayesod's annual dinner on Feb. 12 in Geneva. But pressure has been building on the Swiss government to arrest him and open a criminal investigation if he enters the Alpine country.
Criminal complaints against Bush alleging torture have been lodged in Geneva, court officials say.
The visit to Geneva was to have been Mr. Bush’s first trip to Europe since his memoir, “Decision Points,” was published in November, and the first since he publicly stated in interviews on his book tour that he had personally authorized the use of waterboarding in the questioning of terrorism detainees.The World Organization Against Torture sent this letter to the Swiss authorities in which they point out the obligations the Swiss have as signatories to the United Nations Conventions Against Torture:
As a result, international human rights groups, including Amnesty International, seized on the scheduled visit to petition the Swiss authorities to open an investigation of Mr. Bush while he was in the country. The groups argued that he had admitted to torture and thus could be prosecuted in Switzerland and other countries that have signed on to the international convention banning torture.
In light of the overwhelming body of available information there can hardly be doubt that there are grounds that were to trigger Switzerland’s obligation to submit cases for investigations into the crime of torture against anybody present on its soil who has authorized, participated or was complicit in the above practices. This would have to include also former President G Bush who had the overall control as commander in chief and as all information suggests authorized, knew and acquiesced into the practices that constitute the crime of torture. Switzerland would also have to take measures against any offender present on its territory to secure his presence for such criminal investigations and proceedings. In this regard, the OMCT considers that neither officials nor former Heads of States can enjoy immunity for the crime of torture under the UN Convention Against Torture, nor can superior orders or the memos drafted by government lawyers and that sought to immunize officials from prospective prosecution under US domestic law, shield them from responsibility under international law.The US is also signed the those conventions. When can we see the FBI investigate the war criminal?