A victory today for all of us who seek to hold our governments accountable for human rights abuses. Former President George W. Bush has had to cancel his trip to Switzerland this week because he faces the threat of arrest if he enters the country. A group of international human rights organizations filed a complaint with the Swiss courts accusing President Bush of torture, a complaint based on his own admission, in his memoir, of authorizing waterboarding.
Switzerland is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. As part of its obligation under this treaty, it is required to act upon the complaint. The USA is a signatory to the Convention, too, but our government has shown it is unwilling to hold Bush and his colleagues accountable for their actions.
We should not be surprised that the governor who revved up the Texas death machine became the president who presided over Guantanamo. We should not be surprised that a nation that stacks people in death houses awaiting execution is a nation that grows comfortable in creating groups of people no longer classified as fully human and no longer deserving basic human rights. From death rows to Guantanamo to rendition, our embrace of the death penalty is inextricably linked with our embrace of torture.
It is good to see that at last President Bush has been faced with the possibility of being held to account for authorizing torture in our name.