jeudi 17 février 2011

Is the world becoming unsafe for criminal ex-Presidents?

There used to be a day when ex-heads of State could retire from public life and devote their time to rewriting the history of their time in office. Charles de Gaulle wrote a few timeless classics. Winston Churchill, despite his blatant moral double-standards (in particular concerning India...), could handle a pen. George W. Bush, on the other hand, might have to cut back on the out-of-country dates of his latest speaking tour if he hopes to remain out of jail. 

W. had to cancel a speech "at a dinner in Geneva organised by the United Israel Appeal, a US-based organisation that helps Jews move to Israel" because of some of his admissions in his autobiography Decision Points that he had authorized the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture at Guantanamo Bay. Human Rights groups called for demonstrations and the threat of an arrest warrant against W. convinced him to call off the talk. Amnesty International claims "there was sufficient information to open a criminal investigation". More information leading to a possible indictment is contained in the "2,500 page case [over the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo] against Bush in Geneva" submitted by various Human Rights Groups. Amnesty added that "Anywhere in the world that he [Bush] travels, he could face investigation and potential prosecution for his responsibility for torture and other crimes in international law, particularly in any of ther 147 countries that are party to the UN convention against torture". 

Gavin Sullivan, a lawyer for the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, backs the claim in partnership with the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights: "Bush enjoys no immunity from prosecution. As head of state he authorised 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 [...] Bush will be pursued wherever he goes as a war criminal and torturer". 

Other key members of the Bush administrations are also under heat following their long involvement in crimes against humanity. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were booed at a GOP Conference by some Ron Paul supporters as they were about to receive the Defenders of the Constitution award. The hecklers yelled "Murderous scum" and "Where's bin Laden?", questions obviously ignored by Cheney, the brain behind the entire Bush presidencies. W.'s foremost partner in crime, ex-PM Tony Blair, is still travelling North American and Europe raving and chanting the merits of the Iraq war, in an apparent attempt to divert the world from the atrocities he actively participating in engaging and escalating. But his time is running out as well. In a statement sent to the Iraq Inquiry, Blair "revealed he disregarded some of the legal advice given to him by his top adviser in the run-up to the Iraq war", ignoring the intelligence memos informing him that Saddam didn't possess any WMDs and that he had no close ties to Al Qaeda (thus sharing no direct responsibility to the 9/11 attacks). English barrister Michael Mansfield told QC told Channel 4 News that "if the advice had been made public, the UK may not have gone to war in Iraq [...] It represents a flagrant disregard for the rule of law which is what the United Kingdom is supposed to adhere over the centuries". Mansfield also emphasizes that the "type of weapons deployed - particularly if they're indiscriminate, if they're not focused and they incur large numbers, as this did, of civilian casualties" could only lead to massive war crimes. He concludes: "There should be a criminal prosecution in the International Criminal Court [...] because this was a criminal event and thousands (so far more than 1 million Iraqi civilians have been killedof people have died". 

We should rejoice to hear that these men are finally getting caught up by time and that there are courageous individuals marching out and calling these criminals out.

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