George Bush Cuts and Runs From Torture Case in Switzerland

020811warren George Bush Cuts and Runs From Torture Case in Switzerland

Apparently, former president George W. Bush does “cut and run.” On February 7, 2011, two torture victims were to have filed criminal complaints for torture against Bush in Geneva. Bush was due to speak there at a charity gala on February 12. On the eve of the case filing, Bush abruptly canceled his trip, choosing instead to attend the Super Bowl in Dallas. Why would he rather be in Dallas than in Geneva? For one thing, Swiss authorities are under a legal obligation to start a preliminary criminal investigation if a torturer is on Swiss soil. But, thanks to Attorney General Eric Holder’s refusal to apply US law to investigate torture, Bush isn’t even breaking a sweat in Dallas – or anywhere in the US, for that matter.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), along with the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, prepared the detailed case in Switzerland, with support from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). Swiss law requires the presence of an alleged torturer on Swiss soil before a preliminary investigation can be opened. Because Bush cancelled, the complaints could not be filed, as the basis for legal jurisdiction no longer existed. However, the fact that Bush authorized torture remains, and it is harder than ever to hide now, on the ninth anniversary of his decision that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to the conflict with al-Qaeda or to so-called “unlawful combatants.”

In the long run, ducking a charge of torture is not as easy as ducking a shoe thrown at a press conference. Accordingly, CCR publicly released the Preliminary Bush Torture Indictment. The indictment provides a strong factual and legal basis to hold Bush accountable – in any of the 147 countries which have ratified the Convention Against Torture (CAT) – for having authorized torture. In addition, the indictment compiles more than 2,500 pages of publicly available supporting material and has the support of two Nobel Peace Prize winners, more than 60 NGOs and two former UN special rapporteurs on torture and the independence of judges and lawyers.

In light of clear international law, broad international support and the evidence laid out in the indictment, it’s no wonder Bush canceled his trip to Switzerland in order to evade the possibility of prosecution for torture. And of course, that’s a major point of this aspect of international law: the perpetrators of torture crimes shouldn’t be afforded safe haven. But another important question for us to consider as the rest of the world gets much smaller for Bush is, why is Holder comfortable with allowing him safe haven here in the United States?

Truth Out

7 thoughts on “George Bush Cuts and Runs From Torture Case in Switzerland

  1. Interesting. I wonder why no one filed torture charges against Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong Il. There have been so many dictators who have tortured people without cause, and many if not all have been to Switzerland, and in fact visited the UN both there and in NYC. Have the Swiss apprehended anyone under similar circumstances?

    1. How may of them admitted it openly and put it in their memoirs? There is also the question of expectations. We don’t torture…except for when we do. I really think Congress should’ve investigated the whole Bush administration and their use of torture, rendition and getting rid of habeas corpus, at the very least.

    2. none of those guys would ever leave their own countries without an understanding with the host countries. in fact, they would act exactly like G.W. is doing and hide in their own country, acting like nothing is wrong at all

  2. Let me first say I’m not defending Bush here, not by a long shot. What I am wondering is if the Swiss investigated anyone else for torture.
    @ Egosumnemo: I’m not sure of Swiss law, but I don’t think the accused has to admit to doing anything, just be on their soil. If that’s the case, there must have been at least an attempt to file against some of these people. I’d love to see Mubarak go down. At the very least he’s protecting security forces who willfully hit people with a moving vehicle.
    I think the reason that we won’t ever see anyone tried for any of this is that it would have to involve members of congress being tried as well. Consider that anyone who had specific knowledge of torture would be held accountable. Not sure if it’s aiding and abetting or another charge, but I know you can be charged with something if you knowingly do not report a crime.
    The total damage to the government would simply be to great. You might even have to go after people in the current administration, at least some of them were in their current positions during the previous administration. I’m not sure how the redacting applies to court actions, but it could be a major hurdle to building a case.
    @ Tiki: I think your right, except that I think it’s diplomatic immunity, more then an understanding. I doubt Bush would qualify. I would hope the Swiss wouldn’t simply make exceptions for various dictators.

    1. Here’s my reason g=for pursuing legal action against Bush – Nixon. Some of his administration went to jail, but he was pardoned by Ford. It was a very unpopular decision and prolly cost him the presidency. A couple of decades go by and Nixon becomes an elder statesman and his views considered. So far, no real problem Then comes George W. Bush. He surrounded himself w/ people from Nixon’s administration and then proceeds to act very Nixonian in some ways. In less than 30 years, w/in my own memory, we did it again. We let ourselves be lied to knowing that the people making decisions were also making decisions in Nixon’s White House. We didn’t learn. They didn’t learn. No price was payed. Letting Bush and his administration off the hook is not good, certainly not in the long term. Nixon was intelligent, Bush isn’t; it says something about the nature of politics in the executive branch that we have to be very careful about.

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