Bush cancels visit to Switzerland after arrest threat

George W. Bush canceled a trip to Switzerland after human rights groups pressed for the former president’s arrest on torture charges, the Guardian reports.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, an organization pressing for Bush’s arrest, says they “have no doubt he cancelled his trip to avoid our case.” Amnesty International says “an investigation would be mandatory under Switzerland’s international obligations if President Bush entered the country.” The United Israel Appeal, the group that was planning to host Bush in Geneva, says that the calls for an arrest warrant were not a factor in the former president’s decision to stay away.

The visit to Switzerland would have been Bush’s first trip to Europe since the publication of his memoir Decision Points. In the book, Bush says that he authorized the use of waterboarding – an act of simulated drowning considered by many human rights advocates to be torture — on terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.

“What we have in Switzerland is a Pinochet opportunity,” said Gavin Sullivan, a lawyer for one of the groups advocating for Bush’s arrest. Sullivan was refereeing to Augusto Pinochet, the exiled Chilean dictator arrested in London for crimes allegedly carried out by his government.

He added: “Bush enjoys no immunity from prosecution. As head of state he authorized and condoned acts of torture, and the law is clear – where a person has been responsible for torture, all states have an obligation under international law to open an investigation and prosecute.”

Although former Bush speechwriter David Frum is suspicious of the “so-called” human rights activists’ claims, he still wants the current president to address the issue anyway. “It’s hard to know how much of this story is true, and how much is fundraising bluster,” he writes. “But if even a small portion of the news is true, President Obama has a duty to speak up and to warn foreign governments that further indulgence of this kind of nonsense by their court systems will be viewed as an unfriendly act by the United States.”

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  • wisconsinChick

    Why aren’t these Swiss “human rights” nuts protesting their country’s asylum of the convicted child rapist Roman Polanski? The hypocrisy (and faux moral authority) of the left never ceases to amaze those of us who are intellectually informed.

    • IMcasualcat

      ROFL @ intellectually informed

  • IMcasualcat

    It would be a symbolic gesture only …
    though frankly he should be tried as a war criminal ….never in our 200yrs has a president declared an unprovoked war based on false information fed to us by him and his synchophants

    • des1

      He should be tried as a war criminal for endorsing an activity that is completely harmless? I wonder what your opinion is on Clinton, who originated rendition to countries that openly practice actual torture (or Obama who has continued the practice).

      Or does actually thinking cause your brain to hurt?

      • IMcasualcat

        The unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation is harmless?
        Fabricating facts to fit your neo con theories is harmless?
        The disembowelment of the Bill of Rights and Habeus Corpus is harmless?

        Thinking may cause my brain to hurt but that at least indicates I have one….

  • Sproing

    We wouldn’t go to war with Switzerland over the detention and arrest of a former U.S. President but it would certainly be an embarrassment for the U.S. and a damaging diplomatic move as a warning to ALL leaders and former leaders everywhere that travel and diplomatic immunity mean nothing.

    I could envision a positive impact on the Conservative movement in America as a vast majority of Americans would finally see just how far and how bankrupt of ideas the far left has become. We have for way too long bent over backward to accommodate those persons in every society who are unbalanced, indeed irrational, and who will go to almost any extreme to make their case. Such examples as people who murder abortion Dr’s. for being killers, ecology wing-nuts who destroy private property in the name of saving nature, and yes, liberals who want to protect everyones freedoms by insisting that we live as they want us to.

    We are not a multi-cultural country but rather a country whose culture is an amalgamation of the best that multiple cultures have to offer. We shouldn’t tread lightly when the worst of any one culture tries to argue that it has a right to manipulate and undermine our unique and inherited culture just to satisfy their peculiar desires.

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    I doubt the Swiss would grab a President of the United States. We may seem weak with the current idiot in the White House. I can assure you that if they did grab President Bush there would be an extreme ass whoopin as we say here in the south! One thing about liberals anywhere they tend to talk too much!