President George Bush Charged in Provincial Court
By charlie smith
Publish Date: 2-Dec-2004
A Vancouver lawyer has filed torture-related criminal charges against U.S. President George W. Bush in Vancouver Provincial Court. Gail Davidson, cochair of an international legal group called Lawyers Against the War, told the Straight that she charged Bush on November 30 with seven counts of counselling, aiding, and abetting the commission of torture in connection with the actions of U.S. armed forces at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at a U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay. If the case goes to trial and Bush is found guilty, he would be liable to imprisonment for up to 14 years.
"I went about it in a very organized and solemn way," Davidson said. "It wasn't every day that someone was going to walk in and try to lay a charge against a visiting president."
A justice of the peace accepted the charges, which means there will be a hearing to decide whether or not Bush will be required to appear. Davidson said that within eight days of her laying the charges, the Attorney General of Canada, Irwin Cotler, must give his consent for the case to continue.
Davidson said she worked closely with Osgoode Hall law professor Michael Mandel, cochair of LAW, in preparing the case against Bush. She added that after the news was reported in the U.S., she received some hostile e-mail, as well as "rude" treatment from some American media outlets.
The same day that Davidson's charges were approved, the New York Times reported that it had obtained a memo from the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross accusing the U.S. military of using tactics "tantamount to torture" on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. The next morning, mainstream Canadian newspapers such as the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and the two local CanWest-owned dailies did not report that the U.S. president had been charged in Vancouver.