G.W. Bush Cancels Europe Speech to Avoid Prosecution, Protest

From the Center for Constitutional Rights comes good news…  G.W. Bush has been forced to cancel a speaking trip in Switzerland next week to avoid being charged in a torture case:

“CCR, with the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), have spent weeks preparing a 2,500 page torture case against Bush that would have been filed on Monday, February 7 – the anniversary of the day, nine years ago, when Bush decided the Geneva Conventions didn’t apply to ‘enemy combatants.’ Bush was due to be in Geneva on the 12th, and his presence on Swiss territory is required for the prosecutor to take action.

“The complaint, brought under the Convention Against Torture with the support of 50 NGOs, two former UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture and two Nobel Prize winners, was on behalf of two torture victims, one who is still at Guantánamo.

“Whatever Bush or his hosts say, we have no doubt he cancelled his trip to avoid our case. The message from civil society is clear – If you’re a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It’s a slow process for accountability, but we keep going.”

In the Guardian UK today:

The visit would have been Bush’s first to Europe since he admitted in his autobiography, Decision Points, in November that he had authorised the use of waterboarding – simulated drowning – on detainees at Guantánamo accused of links with al-Qaida. Whether out of concern over the protests or the arrest warrant, it is an extraordinary development for a former US president to have his travel plans curtailed in this way, and amounts to a victory for human rights campaigners.

Reuters reports today in Bush’s Swiss visit off after complaints on torture:

Bush, in his “Decision Points” memoirs on his 2001-2009 presidency, strongly defends the use of waterboarding as key to preventing a repeat of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Most human rights experts consider the practice a form of torture, banned by the Convention on Torture, an international pact prohibiting torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. Switzerland and the United States are among 147 countries to have ratified the 1987 treaty.

Bush was to speak at a Jewish charity function.  McClatchy newspapers report:

“Protest organizers told participants to bring an extra shoe, prompting fears that someone might re-enact an Iraqi journalist’s 2008 assault on President Bush in Baghdad. The reporter hurled his own footwear as a sign of contempt.”

Whether the threat of prosecution or the threat of determined mass protest caused the cancellation of Bush’s visit, it’s a sign that people are paying attention, and acting on the necessity of holding Bush accountable for war crimes.

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  1. #1 by Jim on February 7, 2011 - 10:36 pm

    Jim :I love it when the noose tightens. Mr. Bush will get his Karma treatment

  2. #2 by Paul J. Bosco on February 7, 2011 - 10:49 pm

    Maybe we can find ways to use the US legal system to hamstring Bush’s travel within OUR country, too –or at least New York and other cities. It will be hard, of course, since so much of that system was dismantled while he usurped the Presidency.

    You know, I kind of like Bush. I mean, apart from the mass murder, the ideological assaults on law, the exalting of wealthy interests and the bumbling away of the US economy. He might not be such a bad guy, were he only powerless.

    One could make a case, I suppose, that with him out of power, we should forgive and move on.

    Oh, wait. I just remembered his FRIENDS. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice & Rove. Maybe the torturer should be sentenced to a few years of house arrest.

    kanye West’s house?

    –Paul J. Bosco

  3. #3 by The Toxic Reverend on February 7, 2011 - 11:06 pm

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  4. #4 by genierae on February 8, 2011 - 7:14 am

    We must take what comfort we can, since our own government won’t prosecute Bush. It would have done my heart good to see him once again with shoes raining down upon his head, but the threat of indictment is a sharp sting that won’t be forgotten easily. Bravo to Europe justice!!

(will not be published)