Former President George W. Bush at the White House in Washington on May 1, 2007.
On February 7, 2011, when two torture victims were to have filed criminal complaints
for torture against Bush in Geneva, the former president abruptly canceled his February 12 trip to Switzerland.
(Photo: Doug Mills / The New
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.
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."
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 reporters
on torture and the independence of judges and lawyers.
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?