Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vancouver lawyer vs. war criminal Bush

George W. Bush could face new torture charges
The Georgia Straight: A Vancouver lawyer says she plans to lay criminal charges against former US president George W. Bush when he visits Calgary on March 17. 'I'm going to attempt to initiate a private prosecution against him for torture,' [said] Gail Davidson, cofounder of Lawyers Against the War...

In a February 23 letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and four federal cabinet ministers, the group requested that Bush be denied entry into Canada in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Along with individuals, the act bars senior members of a government that has committed offences listed in the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act from entering the country. Torture is listed in the appendix to the act as a crime against humanity.

'An article recently published by a legal scholar has itemized 267 war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Bush as president and commander-in-chief just in the invasion and occupation of Iraq alone,' Davidson said. 'But the only offence that Lawyers Against the War would concentrate on is torture.'

Davidson laid seven torture-related charges against Bush in Vancouver provincial court in 2004 while he was in the country on an official visit. Provincial court judge William Kitchen declared the charges a 'nullity' because Bush had immunity from prosecution as a sitting head of state.

Davidson noted that the BC Court of Appeal has ruled that a private prosecution of this nature cannot proceed to a first hearing without the consent of the federal attorney general, who is Robert Nicholson. 'We can assume that he won't,' she said. 'So the next step would be to take an application to the Federal Court of Canada seeking an order of mandamus compelling the attorney general to give his consent.'
Image source here.