FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Bush Should be Banned from Canada

by MICHAEL MANDEL And GAIL DAVIDSON

The Right Honourable Paul Martin
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
Langevin Block
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0A2
Tel: 613 6868
Fax: 613-941-6900
Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

URGENT

Dear Prime Minister Martin:

It was with absolute dismay that we learned of the planned visit of President Bush to Canada on November 30th 2004.

Surely you are aware of the many grave crimes against humanity and war crimes for which President Bush stands properly accused by the world, starting with the Nuremberg Tribunal’s ‘supreme international crime’ of waging an aggressive war against Iraq in defiance of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, and including systematic and massive violations of the Geneva Conventions Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War and Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, as well as the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. As recently as November 16, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and former war crimes prosecutor Louise Arbour called for an investigation into crimes against the Geneva Conventions in the assault by US forces on the densely populated city of Fallujah.
The terrible toll in life and limb of these crimes was documented in a study carried out by the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in Baltimore and published in the October 29, 2004 issue of the British Medical Journal The Lancet which conservatively estimated that the war had taken 100,000 Iraqi lives, mostly women and children. This was well within the range predicted before the war, for example by a British affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War who, in November 2002, assessed the probable death toll at a minimum of 48,000 deaths, mostly civilians, and predicted that post-war conditions would cost an additional 200,000 lives.

The President’s responsibility for these offences derives not only from his ‘command responsibility’ as Commander in Chief of US forces, for crimes that he knew were being committed, or ignored through willful blindness, but did nothing to prevent; it also comes from his direct involvement in the formulation of policy. This includes his personal involvement not only in the devising and waging of an aggressive, illegal war, but also of the unlawful refusal to grant prisoner of war status to prisoners of war, contrary to specific provisions of the Geneva Conventions, an act repudiated in the US Courts. It also includes the approval of techniques of interrogation by his direct subordinate, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, that legally and morally constitute torture and that led directly to the disgraceful violence against Iraqi prisoners, for example at the prison at Abu Ghraib.

As you know, not only are these acts criminal under international law, but many of them are also criminal under Canadian law, under laws enacted in pursuance of our international obligations, most importantly the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, put in place just four years ago under a Liberal government. They also violate the provisions on torture in the Canadian Criminal Code.

By these laws, Canadians and non-Canadians alike are liable to prosecution in Canada, no matter where in the world they have committed their crimes. Furthermore, as the Attorney General can advise, the fact that these crimes have been committed by Mr. Bush while President of the United States is absolutely irrelevant to his personal liability to prosecution in Canada, according to principles established at Nuremberg and universally recognized since then, including by the British House of Lords in the Pinochet case in 1999. And if President Bush were to visit Canada after leaving office, we would be seeking the Attorney General’s permission under section 9 of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act and section 7 of the Criminal Code to commence proceedings against him.

However, as you also know, should President Bush come to Canada now, while still President, he would be clothed with both diplomatic and head of state immunity from our laws and we would be powerless to bring him to justice.

Your invitation in these circumstances, therefore, shows contempt for both Canadian and international law and is a grievous insult to the literally hundreds of thousands of victims of President Bush’s international crimes. It is also our belief that the invitation endangers Canadians’ security at home and abroad, because it is a departure from our steadfast refusal to this point to participate in this criminal war of the Bush administration. In fact, it is our belief that this invitation can only act as an encouragement to President Bush in his continuing criminal activity, providing him with an important platform in this, his first post re-election foreign visit, to defend illegal US actions in Iraq and to improve his international standing despite them, all this against the wishes of the majority of Canadians.

Indeed, we feel bound to point out that your invitation to President Bush may thus constitute an abetting of the crimes he and his administration and military continue to commit. As such you and your colleagues could be personally liable to prosecution under the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act by virtue of section 21 of the Canadian Criminal Code, for crimes so serious that they are punishable in Canada by up to life imprisonment. Abetting a crime, as the Attorney General will advise, is regarded as equally criminal to actually committing it and is complete when one intentionally, knowingly, or with willful blindness encourages the commission of a crime by another.

Nor would President Bush’s immunity be capable of shielding you and your colleagues from prosecution, because, as the Attorney General will advise, the immunity applies only to foreign officials visiting Canada and not to members of the Canadian government itself. Nor does the inability to prosecute a criminal affect the criminal liability of an abettor.

It is for all these reasons we urgently request a meeting with you, the Foreign Minister, the Attorney General or your representatives in Ottawa, so that we might have the opportunity to elaborate on these matters and to persuade you to declare President Bush persona non grata in Canada, or at least to rescind this invitation, and thus to avoid implicating yourselves and Canada in the most serious of international crimes.

Sincerely,

MICHAEL MANDEL and GAIL DAVIDSON
on behalf of Lawyers against the War (LAW) a Canada-based committee of jurists and others with members in thirteen countries.

Contacts:

Michael Mandel, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3.
Email: MMandel@osgoode.yorku.ca

Gail Davidson
Email: law@portal.ca

 

 

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail