Prosecute Bush for torture, HRW says

Feb. 8, 2011 at 2:47 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch said Washington should lead the way and prosecute former U.S. President George W. Bush for authorizing tactics described as torture.

Bush last week canceled a speaking engagement scheduled in Switzerland. Human Rights Watch said two people were planning to file complaints in Geneva against Bush for authorizing the waterboarding of terrorism suspects during his tenure.

"The threatened prosecution of President Bush in Switzerland shows that other countries will act against torture even if the U.S. doesn't," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

Roth said prosecuting Bush is sanctioned by Swiss law when the country permitted to do so by an international treaty.

Bush defended the use of waterboarding in television interviews while talking about his memoirs last year.

"Three people were waterboarded and I believe that decision saved lives," Bush said in an interview with NBC News.

When asked if he approved the waterboarding of al-Qaida mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Bush responded, "Damn right!"

"The U.S. record on accountability for detainee abuse has been abysmal," added Roth. "The official authorization of torture by a head of state should never go unpunished."

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