A Vancouver lawyer says she will send a dossier on former U.S. president George W. Bush to the Canadian war-crime investigation unit in advance of his visit to Surrey later this year.
Gail Davidson, cofounder of Lawyers Against the War, told the Straight by phone that she'll also send copies to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, and "try to make a little bit more effective noise about keeping him out of the country this time".
Davidson offered her comments in response to Surrey mayor Dianne Watts's announcement today that Bush and former U.S. president Bill Clinton will speak at the fourth annual Surrey Regional Economic Summit later this year.
"It's shocking," Davidson said. "She can't be that out of touch that she doesn't realize that they've committed hideous war crimes—even if you just look at Iraq alone."
Davidson pointed out that University of Illinois international legal scholar Francis Boyle is trying to get Swiss authorities in Geneva to arrest Bush, who will land there this month.
Meanwhile, some of Clinton's critics, including Osgoode Hall law professor Michael Mandel, have claimed that his administration committed war crimes in the Balkans by attacking Yugoslavia without the authorization of the UN Security Council.
In 2004, a group of activists, journalists, legal scholars, human-rights specialists, and academics formed the BRussels Tribunal, which is a nongovernmental organization that is trying to hold public officials accountable for committing war crimes in Iraq.
"When the group from the BRussels Tribunal brought the action in the Spanish courts in the fall of 2009, Clinton was one of the people named in their complaint," Davidson said. "He was named specifically for his actions in the sanctions in Iraq....Myself, I would concentrate on George Bush because I know so much more about him."
In 2004, Davidson filed a private prosecution charging Bush with seven torture-related offences under the Criminal Code of Canada while he was on a state visit to Canada. In a secret hearing in Vancouver Provincial Court, Judge William Kitchen ruled that those charges were a "nullity", which meant they never technically existed in law.