by Bill Quigley
n February 7, 2011, two torture victims were to have
filed criminal complaints for torture against former president George W.
Bush in Geneva, who was due to speak at an event there on February
12th. On the eve of the filing of the complaints, George Bush cancelled
Synopsis: Swiss law requires the presence of the alleged torturer on
Swiss soil before a preliminary investigation can be open. The
complaints could not be filed after Bush cancelled, as the basis for
jurisdiction no longer existed.
These two complaints are part of a larger effort to ensure
accountability for torturers, including former U.S. officials. So on
February 7, 2011, CCR publicly released the "Preliminary Bush Torture
Indictment." This document presents fundamental aspects of the case
against George Bush for torture, and a preliminary legal analysis of his
liability for torture and a response to some anticipated defenses.
This document will be updated as developments warrant. The exhibit list
contains references to more than 2,500 pages of supporting material.
The Preliminary Bush Torture Indictment was prepared so that it could
be used for individual victims to file cases against George Bush in any
country where the Convention Against Torture provides jurisdiction.
There is global support for the victims of torture under the Bush
administration to seek justice and accountability. CCR worked with the
Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights to
prepare the case in Switzerland, and had support from the International
Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).
The individual complaints that were set to be filed in Geneva on
February 7, 2011 were supported by a letter from more than 60 human
rights organizations and prominent individuals calling for the
prosecution of George W. Bush for torture, including former UN Special
Rapporteur on Torture, Theo van Boven, UN Special Rapporteur on
Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Leandro Despouy, and Nobel Peace
Prize recipients Shirin Ebadi and Pérez Esquivel.
A number of the human
rights organizations which signed on are facing the on-going harms of
the “counterterrorism” policies advanced under the Bush administration
and then adopted or employed in their own countries.
Manfred Nowak, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
(2004-2010), was to submit an expert opinion on the complaints
concluding that the conduct to which both plaintiffs were subjected
constitutes torture, that Switzerland had an obligation to open a
preliminary investigation, and that George W. Bush enjoys no immunity.