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Could Former President Bush be Indicted in Europe for War Crimes?

By February 7, 2011

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Former President George W. Bush has cancelled plans to speak in Geneva at a dinner honoring the United Israel Appeal, after European human rights groups began organizing protests and calling on Swiss prosecutors to arrest Bush when he arrived in the country. The issue of whether President Bush committed war crimes as defined by the Convention Against Torture seemed like an appropriately controversial legal issue to address, since we are already discussing other controversial legal issues today.

A spokesman for Bush indicated that the trip was cancelled due to the risk of violent protests, not in response to the risk of arrest. While some media sources seemed skeptical about whether this was true, Swiss authorities have indicated that Bush would be immune from prosecution - a claim disputed by groups such as Amnesty International and the Center for Constitutional Reform. If the prosecutors who would be responsible for arresting Bush say he is immune from prosecution, it seems unlikely that any arrest will be in his future.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Is Bush's admission in his biography that he authorized the use of waterboarding a confession to a crime? Did waterboarding or the operation of the prison at Guantanamo Bay qualify as war crimes under the Convention Against Torture? In light of similar petitions to arrest Donald Rumsfeld and other Bush Administration officials being dismissed by the international courts, are the calls for Bush's arrest just political posturing or do they have more legal substance? Share your comments on the legal issues in this debate in the comments section below.


February 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm
(1) Thomas says:

Yes, I feel that Bush and Dumbsfeld should both be hanged. Next to Ronald Reagan as well, these two along with Cheney and Newt have done some of the greatest harm to the United States that we will never recover from and will be paying for forever.

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