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Human Rights Groups Announce Bush Indictment for Convention Against Torture Signatory States

No Immunity for Former Presidents Under Law

February 7, 2011, Geneva and New York – Today, two torture victims were to have filed criminal complaints, with more than 2,500-pages of supporting material, in Geneva against former U.S. President George W. Bush, who was due to speak at an event there on 12 February. Swiss law requires the presence of the torturer on Swiss soil before a preliminary investigation can be opened. When Bush cancelled his trip to avoid prosecution, the human rights groups who prepared the complaints made it public and announced that the Bush Torture Indictment would be waiting wherever he travels next. The Indictment serves as the basis on which to prepare country-specific, plaintiff-specific indictments, with additional evidence and updated information. According to international law experts at the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), former presidents do not enjoy special immunity under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).

“Waterboarding is torture, and Bush has admitted, without any sign of remorse, that he approved its use,” said Katherine Gallagher, Senior Staff Attorney at CCR and Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). “The reach of the Convention Against Torture is wide – this case is prepared and will be waiting for him wherever he travels next. Torturers – even if they are former presidents of the United States – must be held to account and prosecuted. Impunity for Bush must end.”

While the U.S. has thus far failed to comply with its obligations under the Convention Against Torture to prosecute and punish those who commit torture, all other signatories, too, are obligated to prosecute or extradite for prosecution anyone present in their territory they have a reasonable basis for believing has committed torture. If the evidence warrants, as the Bush Torture Indictment contends it does, and the U.S. fails to request the extradition of Bush and others to face charges of torture there, CAT signatories must, under law, prosecute them for torture.

In a statement this weekend, the groups who organized the complaints said, “Whatever Bush or his hosts say, we have no doubt he cancelled his trip to avoid our case. The message from civil society is clear – If you’re a torturer, be careful in your travel plans.”

The complaints that had been scheduled to be filed on Monday asked that the General Prosecutor of the Canton of Geneva investigate allegations that men were tortured as part of the Bush administration’s well-documented torture program. Bush proudly recounted in his recently published memoir that when asked in 2002 to if it was permissible to waterboard a detainee – a recognized act of torture – he replied “damn right.”

Monday, 7 February, is the ninth anniversary of the day Bush decided the Geneva Conventions did not apply to ‘enemy combatants.’

According to the Bush Indictment, which was written on behalf of torture victims by CCR and ECCHR, former President Bush bears individual and command responsibility for the acts of his subordinates which he ordered, authorized, condoned or otherwise aided and abetted, as well as for the violations committed by his subordinates which he failed to prevent or punish.

“Bush is a torturer and deserves to be remembered as such,” said Gavin Sullivan, Solicitor and Counterterrorism Program Manager, ECCHR. “He bears ultimate responsibility for authorizing the torture of thousands of individuals at places like Guantánamo and secret CIA ‘black sites’ around the world. As all states are obliged to prosecute such torturers, Bush has good reason to be very worried.”

CCR, ECCHR and FIDH were joined by more than 60 human rights organizations and prominent individuals who signed on to support the call for George W. Bush’s prosecution, including former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Theo van Boven, former UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Leandro Despouy, and Nobel Peace Prize recipients Shirin Ebadi and Pérez Esquivel. A number of the human rights organizations which signed on are facing the on-going harms of the “counterterrorism” policies advanced under the Bush administration and then adopted or employed in their own countries..The complaint included 2500 pages of supporting materials.

Manfred Nowak, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (2004-2010), was to submit an expert opinion on the complaints concluding that the conduct to which both plaintiffs were subjected constitutes torture, that Switzerland had an obligation to open a preliminary investigation, and that George W. Bush enjoys no immunity.

The Bush Torture Indictment, the official “letter of denunciation” summarizing the case and other materials are available here:

The Center for Constitutional Rights, in addition to filing the first cases representing men detained at Guantánamo, has filed universal jurisdiction cases seeking accountability for torture by Bush administration officials in Germany, France and submitted expert opinions and other documentation to ongoing cases in Spain in collaboration with ECCHR. The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit Follow @theCCR.

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) is an independent, non-profit legal organization that enforces human rights by holding state and non-state actors to account for egregious abuses through innovative strategic litigation. For more information visit

The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) is a non-governmental federation for 164 human rights organizations. FIDH’s core mandate is to promote respect for all the rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Its priority areas include protecting human rights defenders and fighting impunity. For more information on FIDH, see


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Arrest warrants have been issued in Switzerland for Bush, charging him with a broad list of war crimes under a United Nations more
Nazis Leaders Ribbentrop, Kietel, and the other Nazis Leaders were hung for their conspiracy to commit crimes against peace, their war crimes, and their crimes against humanity, but for Obama/Holder, it's like the Nuremberg Trials and Principles have no meaning or affect, and Chief US Prosecutor Robert Jackson's pointing out that these same Nuremberg Principles applied to these Nazis Leaders at Nuremberg must also apply to those nations sitting in judgement - the US, Great Britain, France, and Russia, and if the peace of the world was to be secured, all must be considered equal and held responsible for their actions and deeds under the law, except of course for Bush Jr, exempt from all accountability or responsibility for his actions and deeds under the law, just as if over one million dead Iraqis killed on his false pretenses and his utter destruction of Iraq based on hundreds of lies from his lips were of no consequence to anyone - this one Bush Jr, a deceiver, a torturer, who stands credibly accused of these very same war crimes and has lied hundreds of times about Iraq to his fellow citizens to justify his dastardly link

For every individual who has been tortured in the U.S. gulag, their country should prosecute Bush, Obama, and the whole crew of politicians who have made torture an increasingly customary practice in the world today. Every single U.S. senator should also stand trial. Every Supreme Court Justice, too. Every member of the court system who cooperated with making torture "legal" should also be brought to trial. We are talking about an entire corrupt and evil system staffed by immoral and debased people who did not object or have enough conscience to see what they were doing was wrong.

All the mercenaries who practice torture should also be prosecuted, so that mercenaries are seen for the despicable criminals that they are -- not glorified in movies and paid $8,000 U.S. monthly.

Yeah, for Switzerland. How did they ever have the audacity to prosecute when every other country and institution in the world is too craven or weak to do the right thing in this matter of torture?

The Honorable Eric Holder
Department of Justice
Robert F. Kennedy Building
Tenth Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

RE: Prosecute George W. Bush for Torture

Dear Attorney General Holder:

Bush Jr has escaped the law and got away with his torturing, even murdering, of human beings in his custody, as the evidence clearly indicates in Article XVIII, Articles of Impeachment for Bush Jr, to wit:


In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed", has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, violated United States and International Law and the US Constitution by secretly authorizing and encouraging the use of torture against captives in Afghanistan, Iraq in connection with the so-called "war" on terror.

In violation of the Constitution, US law, the Geneva Conventions (to which the US is a signatory), and in violation of basic human rights, torture has been authorized by the President and his administration as official policy.

Water-boarding, beatings, faked executions, confinement in extreme cold or extreme heat, prolonged enforcement of painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, and the defiling of religious articles have been practiced and exposed as routine at Guantanamo, at Abu Ghraib Prison and other US detention sites in Iraq, and at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

The president, besides bearing responsibility for authorizing the use of torture, also as Commander in Chief, bears ultimate responsibility for the failure to halt these practices and to punish those responsible once they were exposed.

The administration has sought to claim the abuse of captives is not torture, by redefining torture. An August 1, 2002 memorandum from the Administration's Office of Legal Counsel Jay S. Bybee addressed to White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales concluded that to constitute torture, any pain inflicted must be akin to that accompanying "serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." The memorandum went on to state that even should an act constitute torture under that minimal definition, it might still be permissible if applied to "interrogations undertaken pursuant to the President's Commander-in-Chief powers." The memorandum further asserted that "necessity or self-defense could provide justifications that would eliminate any criminal liability."
This effort to redefine torture by calling certain practices simply "enhanced interrogation techniques" flies in the face of the Third Geneva Convention Relating to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, which states that "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

Torture is further prohibited by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the paramount international human rights statement adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly, including the United States, in 1948. Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is also prohibited by international treaties ratified by the United States: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).

When the Congress, in the Defense Authorization Act of 2006, overwhelmingly passed a measure banning torture and sent it to the President's desk for signature, the President, who together with his vice president, had fought hard to block passage of the amendment, signed it, but then quietly appended a signing statement in which he pointedly asserted that as Commander-in-Chief, he was not bound to obey its strictures.

The administration's encouragement of and failure to prevent torture of American captives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the battle against terrorism, has undermined the rule of law in the US and in the US military, and has seriously damaged both the effort to combat global terrorism, and more broadly, America's image abroad. In his effort to hide torture by US military forces and the CIA, the president has defied Congress and has lied to the American people, repeatedly claiming that the US "does not torture."


Your Name
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1. Bush Article of Impeachment more

P.S. I sent this letter to Holder on 11-13-10 and have not received a reply and Holder has not prosecuted this credibly accused torturer, Bush Jr, who remains at large.

Since Mr. Obama has continued the illegal wars and other activities, Mr. Holder would have to indict him as well. Since that won't happen in the current paradigm, we must force a change at the top to ensure anything positive actually happens.

Here is Wisdom...
Seven Star Hand

This was a great thing to see. Also, pay close attention that Mr. Obama and crew are still working overtime to protect these war criminals, while continuing their criminal activities and subversion of the USA constitution. Isn't aiding and abetting war crimes a war crime also? It is hard to say you were only following orders when you are where the buck supposedly stops. Of course, this and the previous administration are merely playing a good cop, bad cop game against the USA and the whole world. Also, the buck stops with those that control money, which is used to control our politicians and ultimately enslave and manipulate us as well.

The only way to establish truth and justice is to actually apply truth and justice, which no sniveling, lying politician can be expected to do.

Keep up the good work here guys, there is increasing light at the end of the tunnel.

Nuff said...
Seven Star Hand

As long as the CIA and NSA operate, along with the Pentagon, through SECRET, CLASSIFIED military and counter-intelligence operations, Obama and all the creeps on the Armed Service Committees need to get locked up and put on trial, too.

This country is corrupt to the core and there will never be any justice served in the United States of Amerika. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and dozen of others including the Attorney General and his staff all deserve to be tried and if Obama will not issue such an order to his AG to have them tried then he too should be subject to the rule of International Law. Soon Amerika will be a lawless nation and it will be bloody and violent and we will all have deserved it!

Like Nazi Hunters, we need Bush Cult Hunters, who go pick up these criminals, no matter where they are. no matter what year it is. If they're 95 when they're arrested, then so be it.

The world has sat back for far too long, just like they did with Ugly Adolf and his goons. Bush and his sociopathic buddies should have been in irons years ago.

Cuff ‘em and stuff ‘em, as cops say, and then sent them immediately to The Hague.

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