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George W. Bush: Canada must bar entry or arrest and ensure prosecution for torture 1
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0A2
Fax: 1 613 941 6900
The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Canada K1A 0H8
Fax: 1 613 954 0811
The Honourable Jason Kenney,
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
325 East Block, House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
The Honourable Vic Toews,
Minister of Public Safety, House of Commons
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6
The Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Lester B.Pearson Building, Tower A
125 Sussex Drive. Ottawa, ON, K1A 0G2
Telephone: 613-995-1851: Fax: 613-996-3443; 1 613 996 0984
Mr. Prime Minister and Ministers Nicholson, Kenney, Toews and Baird:
Re: Visit of George W. Bush on October 20, 2011: Canada must prevent entry or arrest and ensure
prosecution for torture.
George W. Bush is reported to be coming to Surrey British Columbia on October 20, 2011 at the
invitation of Surrey Mayor Diane Watts. There is overwhelming evidence that George W. Bush as
President of the United States of America (US) and Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces aided,
abetted and counseled the torture of non-Americans at US controlled prisons outside the US including but
not limited to Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Bagram prison in Afghanistan
other places. This letter of complaint focuses on torture allegations while acknowledging evidence of
other war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out by the Bush administration.
We are writing to report that:
George W. Bush, former President of the United States and Commander is Chief of the Armed
Forces, is inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), section
35(1)(a) because of overwhelming evidence that he has ‘committed, outside Canada, torture and other
offences referred to in sections 4 to 7 of the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act
the George W. Bush Administration is known to have engaged in “systematic or gross human rights
violations, or a war crime or a crime against humanity within the meaning of subsections 6(3) to (5)
of the CAHWC.
We are writing to request that you act immediately to ensure that :
George W. Bush is barred entry from Canada under the IRPA; or,
On entering Canada, George W. Bush is arrested to ensure that he will not receive safe
haven from prosecution for torture either in Canada or by returning the United States; and,
Canada initiates a prosecution for torture of George W. Bush or extradites him to be
prosecuted in a jurisdiction willing and able to prosecute him for torture.
Vancouver, B.C. — An upcoming planned speaking engagement in Canada by former President George W. Bush is again generating a wave of protest. Bush is reportedly scheduled to speak on October 20th at a gathering in Surrey, British Columbia hosted by Surrey Mayor Diane Watts.
But Lawyers Against the War (LAW) says the Canadian government must either bar Bush at the border because of his alleged involvement in torture and other war crimes and crimes against humanity, or order his arrest when he enters Canada both to ensure he is prosecuted here or elsewhere, and to prevent him from returning to safe haven from prosecution in the United States.
In an August 25 letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Canadian Ministers of justice, immigration, public safety and foreign affairs, the group says “there is overwhelming evidence that George W. Bush …aided and abetted and counseled the torture of non-Americans at U.S. controlled prisons outside the U.S.”
The 7-page letter cites evidence of complicity in torture (and other crimes) from numerous international reports and authorities, including Bush himself: “In his 2010 memoirs, (Bush) admitted to authorizing the use of interrogation techniques that constitute torture such as water boarding.”
The letter goes on to spell out Canada’s “legal duty to deny safe haven from prosecution to anyone suspected on reasonable grounds of torture committed anywhere against any persons.” This is a duty owed not just to Canadians but to all humankind. Barring entry is the first way that Canada can comply with this legal duty.
However, once G.W. Bush enters the country, Canada must then act to ensure that George W. Bush is prosecuted for torture (and other crimes) by either prosecuting him in Canada or extraditing him to a country willing and able to prosecute. Canada’s duty to prevent Mr. Bush from having safe haven from prosecution for the many crimes that he stands reasonably accused of, would require Canada to prevent him from returning to the United States.
The August 25/11 letter is signed by Gail Davidson of LAW, and Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law.
Professor Boyle has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales for extraordinary renditions, which include torture and enforced disappearances, both crimes under the Rome Statute for the ICC to which Canada is a party.
Although the US is not a party to the Rome Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute Bush administration officials for extraordinary renditions carried out in states that are party to the Rome Statute. (See at footnote 9, page 4 of LAW’s August 25th letter, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving council of Europe member states).
Professor Boyle’s ICC Complaint played a decisive role in deterring Bush from going to Switzerland in February 2011 because he feared prosecution there.
About the Author: Gail Davidson is an activist for Lawyers against the War. She can be reached via telephone at +1 738 0338 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Protesters clashed with police Monday night outside a private club in downtown Vancouver where former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney was promoting his new book.
The protest organizers with Stopwar.ca were demanding Canada arrest Cheney for war crimes because of his controversial support for the use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other methods to interrogate prisoners in the U.S.'s war against terrorism.
"We hope to set an example that Cheney doesn't see Canada as a safe haven."
Metro Vancouver has been abuzz in recent days with rumours and hearsay of how Canada might arrest top officials of the Bush administration as they try to enter Canada in the near future.
Newspapers across Canada over the weekend carried front-page stories passing an urgent message to the Government of Canada from Amnesty International: Canada has a legal “obligation” to detain and investigate George W. Bush for alleged War Crimes. The former U.S. president will attempt to enter Canada on 20 October, 2011 for a speaking engagement at a regional economic summit in the border city of Surrey, B.C. The City of Surrey is a member city of Metro Vancouver. Former president William J. Clinton is scheduled to appear with Bush at the summit in Surrey.
A perfect storm may now be building head. This latest contingency places Mr. Bush exactly where human rights organizations have been waiting to have him: in the hands of a democratic foreign country willing to stand up to a leader who led the U.S. into an illegal war in Iraq, and is alleged to have approved numerous war crimes. Torture tops the list of the alleged war crimes.
At least four large organizations have been pressuring Canada to arrest or ban Bush officials: Vancouver-based Lawyers Against the War, The StopWar Coalition, the New York–based Center for Constitutional Rights, and London-based Amnesty International have all recently lobbied Canada’s immigration minister, Jason Kenney, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Dianne Watts, the mayor of The City of Surrey to insist that authorities apply Canadian immigration law to all persons equally.
At the present time one Canadian citizen serving time at Guantanamo prison in Cuba for killing a U.S. soldier finds himself right at the centre of the clash between the U.S. and Canada. Omar Khadr was “renditioned” – shipped overseas to a third world country for torture – by the U.S. and is now working with Amnesty International to try to get home to Canada. Progress has been non-existent for Khadr. The Americans show no inclination to repatriate a prisoner taken under the auspices of the War on Terror.
The Toronto Sun newspaper carried the story of the upcoming potential contretemps between the two countries in its October 9 edition.
Bryn Weese, of the Sun’s parliamentary bureau wrote: Amnesty Internatioanal is calling on the federal government to detain and investigate George W. Bush for war crimes. In fact, the organisation says the government has “an obligation” to do it…“The government of Canada has an obligation to start an investigation into former U.S. president George W. Bush’s alleged involvement in , and responsibility for crimes under internernational law, including torture, while he is visiting Canada on 20 October,” according to a press release from the organization sent out Thursday.
Canadian immigration minister Jason Kenney has bristled at the growing pressures brought upon him by activists. He had a heated exchange of letters with Amnesty International over the weekend, in which he told the organization he is “disappointed” in their dogged pursuit of Bush officials. Kenney wrote that Amnesty International is “squandering” its own moral authority.
At the very least, October 20 is going to be a day of tensions in Canada as activists do their best to push Canadian government officials to action, while attempting to cause as much embarassment to both sides in the international squabble as they possibly can.
Based on the present Canadian government’s past close relations with the Bush administration, activists