Canada urged to arrest and prosecute George W Bush during 20 October visit

Press conference in Ottawa unveils 32-page memorandum on case against Bush

 Amnesty International has today (12 October) urged the Canadian authorities to arrest and either prosecute or extradite former US President George W Bush for his role in torture during his expected visit to Canada on 20 October.

Last month (21 September) Amnesty submitted a memorandum to the Canadian authorities making a substantial case for the former president’s legal responsibility for a series of human rights violations.

The violations took place during the CIA's secret detention programme (2002-2009), and include torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading-treatment and enforced disappearances.

As president, Bush authorised the use of a number of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against detainees held in the secret CIA programme. The former president later specifically admitted to authorising the “waterboarding” of several individuals whose subjection to this torture technique has been confirmed. Detainees were subjected to waterboarding and a range of other “enhanced interrogation techniques”, including being forced to stay for hours in painful positions, and sleep deprivation.

The CIA Inspector General has found that Zayn al Abidin Muhammed Husayn (known as Abu Zubaydah) and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were subjected, between them, to at least 266 applications of waterboarding while in detention between 2002 and 2003.

Amnesty’s submission also highlights further evidence of torture and other crimes under international law committed against detainees held under US military custody in Guantánamo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Amnesty International Americas Director Susan Lee said:

“Canada is required by its international obligations to arrest and prosecute former president Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture.

“As the US 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.

“This is a crucial moment for Canada to demonstrate it is prepared to live up to its commitments and obligations with respect to human rights. Canada has been a leader in efforts to strengthen the international justice system and must now demonstrate that when it comes to accountability for human rights violations, no one and no country is above international law.”

Note to editors:

The memorandum will be made public at a press conference in Ottawa at 15.30 hrs BST on Wednesday 12 October.

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