January 17, 2012 - In his memoir and other venues, former US president George W. Bush admitted that he authorized the waterboarding of detainees in US custody. His exact words of approval were, "Damn right." Bush ordered several other interrogation techniques that numerous experts, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and several UN rapporteurs, have found to constitute torture. Nonetheless, he has not been held accountable, in the US or elsewhere, for his oversight of a worldwide torture program that included abuses at Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and secret CIA "black sites."
Recently, Canada disregarded an opportunity to shatter the global impunity Bush enjoys and in so doing violated international law. On October 20, 2011, Bush, joined by former president Bill Clinton, visited Surrey, British Columbia as a paid speaker at a regional economic summit hosted by Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. Rather than comply with Canada's legal obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture and submit Bush for prosecution, the Government of Canada refused to take action. Then, faced with privately initiated charges, the Attorney General of British Columbia intervened to shut down the case.
Three weeks before Bush's widely publicized visit to Canada, we sent a letter [PDF], a 69-page draft indictment [PDF] and approximately 4,000 pages of evidence to the Attorney General of Canada on behalf of the Canadian Centre for International Justice and the Center for Constitutional Rights. We called on him to investigate and prosecute the former US president. In response, we received a terse two-sentence letter [PDF] from the manager of the Department of Justice Correspondence Unit acknowledging nothing more than that our letters had been received over two weeks after Bush had left. Several other human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, called for Canada to arrest Bush. read more>>>