Garzón, Pinochet, and G.W. Bush

February 14, 2011

Pînochet and his generals in 1973. Photo Chas Gerretsen, Nederlands Fotomuseum

Why did George W. Bush not go to Switzerland last week? Xavier Rauscher at International Jurist has the answer: He did not want to end up like Augusto Pinochet. As Geoff Pingree and I wrote in The Nation last May, the pioneering efforts of the Spanish judge “have ensured, for example, that Donald Rumsfeld and Henry Kissinger have to think twice before boarding a plane to Europe.” According to International Jurist, the precedent of Garzón’s indictment of Pinochet in 1998 is now allowing Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights and other organizations to call for

his arrest and prosecution under the 1984 Convention Against Torture (CAT). An individual criminal complaint was prepared (PDF) to be filed before the Swiss authorities in time for Bush’s visit there. It is particularly striking that human rights groups are trying to have George W. Bush prosecuted under the Convention Against Torture, the same treaty that was used to prosecute – or at least attempt to – former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet in 1998.

More here and at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.