Amnesty International calls on Canada to arrest George W. Bush

Posted Oct 12, 2011 by Andrew Reeves
Amnesty International is calling upon Canada to fulfill its obligation under international law and arrest former U.S. president George W. Bush when he visits Surrey, B.C. for an economic summit on October 20.
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London-based Amnesty International is calling on Canada to arrest former United States president George W. Bush if and when he visits Surrey, British Columbia next week over "his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture," according to a statement from the group.
“As the U.S. authorities have, so far, failed to bring former president Bush to justice, the international community must step in. A failure by Canada to take action during his visit would violate the UN Convention Against Torture and demonstrate contempt for fundamental human rights,” argued Susan Lee, a spokeswoman for Amnesty International in the National Post.
If Bush decides to cancel his visit over fears of arrest from Canadian authorities, this would not be the first time the former president's travel plans have been changed in response to public calls to action from Amnesty International. Bush cancelled a similar trip to Switzerland back in February, 2011.
In outlining Amnesty's case against George W. Bush, which has been backed by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, the National Post writes that:
Bush authorized the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and “waterboarding” on detainees held in secret by the Central Intelligence Agency between 2002 and 2009.
The detention program included “torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment [such as being forced to stay for hours in painful positions and sleep deprivation], and enforced disappearances,” it alleged.
Amnesty’s case, outlined in its 1,000-page memorandum, relies on the public record, U.S. documents obtained through access to information requests, Bush’s own memoir and a Red Cross report critical of the U.S.’s war on terror policies.
Amnesty cites several instances of alleged torture of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval facility, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, by the US military.
Canada's Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, was unavailable for comment to the media reporting on the story, although the Toronto Sun speculates that Canada will likely ignore the call to arrest for the former U.S. president.
“Bringing to justice the people responsible for torture is central to [our] goal," argues Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International’s Canadian branch. "It is the law… And no one, including the man who served as president of the world’s most powerful nation for eight years can be allowed to stand above that law.”