Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Bush can't travel

Former US President George Bush is a war criminal. In office he authorised the use of torture, in violation of US and international law. And now he's finding out that there are consequences for that decision: he's been forced to cancel a trip to Switzerland for fear of arrest:

Former U.S. President George W. Bush, under fire from human rights group over allegations of ordering torture, has canceled a visit to Switzerland where he was to address a Jewish charity gala.

Bush was to be the keynote speaker at Keren Hayesod's annual dinner on February 12 in Geneva. But pressure has been building on the Swiss government to arrest him and open a criminal investigation if he enters the Alpine country.

Criminal complaints against Bush alleging torture have been lodged in Geneva, court officials say, and several human rights groups signaled that they were poised to take further legal action this week.

Those human rights groups are now set up to follow Bush wherever he goes. If he sets foot outside the United States, there will be a criminal complaint waiting for him, demanding he be arrested and prosecuted under the universal jurisdiction clause of the Convention Against Torture. While host governments will no doubt collude to avoid applying their own laws to this criminal (just as ours did when Condolezza Rice visited in 2008, and just as the UK government does to protect Israeli war criminals), the threat of prosecution will be some deterrent. At the least, its going to severely impinge on Bush's chances to make money on the lucrative international speaking circuit.

This is Bush's future. Like Pinochet and Kissinger before him, he and the rest of their administration are going to spend the rest of their lives hiding from justice. Unfortunately, the US provides a safe haven for these torturers. But if they ever leave it, then international justice will take its course.