The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) have submitted a 64-page letter to the Attorney General of Canada making the factual and legal case for indicting President George W. Bush for torture under the Canadian Criminal Code and the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The move comes in advance of Bush’s scheduled October 20 speech at the Surrey Regional Economic Summit in Surrey, British Columbia.
CCR and CCIJ are calling on Canada’s Attorney General to begin a criminal investigation of Bush for his administration’s creation and use of a systematized torture program — a program, they note, that Bush himself has admitted to authorizing and which is supported by ample publicly available evidence. The organizations assert that Bush must be held accountable for actions he ordered and oversaw, including “enforced disappearance and secret detention, exposure to extreme temperatures, sleep deprivation, punching, kicking, isolation in ‘coffin’ cells for prolonged periods, threats of bad treatment, solitary confinement, and forced nudity” of detainees.”
Announcing this action, CCR Senior Staff Attorney Katherine Gallagher stated:
“George Bush has openly admitted that he approved the use of torture against men held in U.S. custody. . . . Despite this admission, no country has been willing to investigate and prosecute Bush’s criminal acts, leaving the victims of his torture policies without any justice or accountability. Canada is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture, and has an obligation to investigate Bush for his leadership role in the U.S. torture program. Torturers – even if they are former presidents of the United States – must be held to account and prosecuted. We urge Canada to put an end to impunity for Bush.”
CCIJ Legal Director Matt Eisenbrandt said:
“Canada has a strong legal framework and there is absolutely no ambiguity in our criminal code when it comes to committing or allowing torture. . . . There is grave evidence that former President Bush sanctioned and authorized acts of torture, not only in violation of Canadian laws, but also of international treaties that Canada has ratified. It is therefore clear that our government has both the jurisdiction and the obligation to prosecute Bush should he set foot again on Canadian territory.”
Noting that the United States has refused, so far, to live up to its obligation to hold torturers accountable for their actions under the CAT, CCR and CCIJ requested that Canada abide by its commitments as a signatory to the Convention and hold President Bush liable for his actions.
Alliance for Justice documented the radical justifications for torture in our short film Tortured Law, and continues to advocate for full accountability for those officials in the U.S. government who legitimized torture. AFJ applauds and supports these groups’ efforts to achieve accountability for torture.
The document, along with over 4,000 pages of supporting materials, is available online. To learn more about accountability for torture, visit our webpage [http://www.afj.org/connect-with-the-issues/accountability-for-torture/]