Wednesday, May 16, 2012

United Nations committee asked to investigate Canada's reluctance to arrest George W. Bush

A legal group has alleged that Canada has repeatedly violated the United Nations Convention Against Torture by not arresting and prosecuting former president George W. Bush on his visits to this country.

 Lawyers Against the War has filed a 17-page report to the Committee Against Torture. On May 21 and 22 in Geneva, the committee is scheduled to review Canada's compliance with its international obligation to prevent and punish torture. The report mentions six visits by Bush to Canada after leaving office in 2008, but focuses particular attention on trips to Calgary and Surrey. On October 20, 2011, Bush appeared at the Surrey Regional Economic Summit with former president Bill Clinton.

 "On both occasions, LAW sent letters to the Prime Minister and ministers of Justice, Immigration, Public Safety, and Foreign Affairs advising them of Canada's legal duties to take effective measures to prevent and punish the torture authorized and directed by the Bush administrations and to ensure that Bush not receive safe haven in Canada from prosecution for torture," the report states. "LAW advised of the obligation to bar Bush, as an alleged torturer, from entering Canada pursuant to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act." On October 20 of last year, RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger told the Straight that Bush police had "no lawful authority" to arrest Bush. The U.S.-based Center for Constitutional Rights and the Canadian Centre for International Justice have filed a joint report to the committee claiming that Canada's failure to arrest, investigate, and prosecute Bush for torture amounts to a violation of the convention and denied remedies to victims of torture. Prior to Bush's visit to Surrey, the two groups held a news conference at the Vancouver Public Library central branch, where they placed stacks of documents on the table demonstrating grounds for the arrest of the ex-president. Meanwhile, LAW is seeking amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada to prevent the country's attorney general (Rob Nicholson) from preventing the prosecution of Bush and other foreign nationals for torture. LAW has also recommended education and training for law-enforcement personnel about Canada's obligations under international law, as well as investigations to determine who was responsible for permitting Bush to enter Canada with impunity. Source -

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