At a Glance
This complaint is now a part of a larger effort, used to model the “Preliminary Bush Torture Indictment”, a document that presents fundamental aspects of the case against George W. Bush, and a legal analysis of his liability for torture along with responses to anticipated defenses to ensure that wherever he travels, the mechanisms for justice and accountability can be brought to bear against Bush.
- Katherine Gallagher
One hundred and fifty-five countries, including Switzerland and the United States, are party to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT). Those countries have committed to investigating, prosecuting and punishing torturers. This action is brought under the principle of universal jurisdiction. (See also Accountability for U.S. Torture: France; Accountability for U.S. Torture: Canada; Accountability for U.S. Torture: Germany; and Accountability for U.S. Torture: Spain; Katherine Gallagher, Universal Jurisdiction in Practice: Efforts to Hold Donald Rumsfeld and Other High-level United States Officials Accountable for Torture, Journal of International Criminal Justice (2009)).
On February 7, 2011, two torture victims were to have filed criminal complaints for torture against former president George W. Bush in Geneva. He was due to speak at an event there on February 12th. But, on the eve of the filing, the former president cancelled his trip.
Swiss law requires the presence of the alleged torturer on Swiss soil before a preliminary investigation can be begin. The complaints could not be filed after Bush cancelled, as the basis for jurisdiction no longer existed.