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Posted at 6:40 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Bush not at risk of arrest in Europe, experts say

By Jeff Stein

European law enforcement officials and other experts say the chances of George W. Bush being arrested on war crimes charges in Switzerland--or anyplace else on the continent--are almost nil.

Headlines and assertions by human rights groups that the former president risked a “possible arrest warrant” if he traveled to Geneva to give a speech this weekend were overblown, those with direct experience in such matters said.

But Amnesty International insisted that “Anywhere in the world that he travels, President Bush could face investigation and potential prosecution for his responsibility for torture and other crimes in international law, particularly in any of the 147 countries that are party to the U.N. convention against torture."

"From a legal point of view, I believe it could be possible,” said Dick Marty, a Swiss prosecutor who led Council of Europe’s investigation into alleged illegal CIA secret prisons. “But I'm convinced that the political reality is that there are no chances for such a step."

Likewise, Armando Spataro, the Milan prosecutor who won kidnapping convictions against CIA agents involved in the 2003 rendition of an al Qaeda suspect, said an indictment of Bush was possible only “in theory.”

“According to our system, one (or more) of the following circumstances must be present to issue an arrest warrant,” Spataro said. “One, danger that a person could repeat the same serious crime; two, a danger he could became a fugitive; and three, a danger he could destroy or tamper with evidence.”

Because Bush is out of office and constitutionally prohibited from occupying the presidency again, the conditions for prosecuting him--in Italy, at least--are absent, Spataro suggested.

The most famous case of a head of state arrested on human rights charges came in March 2000, when former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was detained in London. He returned to Chile under indictment but died before a trial.

“What we have in Switzerland is a Pinochet opportunity,” Gavin Sullivan, a lawyer for one of the groups advocating for Bush’s arrest, was quoted as saying last weekend.

But John Dinges, author of "The Condor Years: How Pinochet and his Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents," pointed out that Bush had to be indicted somewhere before he could be arrested--which leaves him little cause for worry.

"Bush is in good company. There are more than 300 South American military officers who have Interpol extradition warrants,” said Dinges, who is also the Godfrey Lowell Cabot Professor of Journalism at Columbia University.

“The difference is that Bush has not been indicted anywhere--unlike most of the officers wanted in the human rights cases. Until that happens, I don't think this will change Bush's ability to travel.”

By Jeff Stein  | February 8, 2011; 6:40 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy, Intelligence, Lawandcourts, Media, Military  | Tags:  George W. Bush; Armando Spataro; Dick Marty; Gavin Sullivan; John Dinges; Amnesty International  
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Comments

too bad! he should pay for iraq someday.

Posted by: submarinerssn774 | February 8, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's good to know, and, only slightly ironic, that he shares a distinction with 300 South American military figures.

Posted by: theater1 | February 8, 2011 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Despite every warped rational one can offer; the facts remain that George Bush should have been impeached, that he and several other in his administration are guilty of war crimes as defined by The Geneva Conventions and as there is no statute of limitation in the prosecution of war crimes it my hope that even if the guilty American parties are tried in absentia, that one day justice will be done and we Americans come to accept the fact that as a nation and our leaders are not above the law simply because we say so!

Posted by: EdDickau | February 8, 2011 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I would not want to be the pathetic, tiny European country that bows to Lefty lawyers and seizes a Bill Clinton, Bush, Vlad Putin, Hu Jintao for "war crimes" or "extrajudicial executions of innocent Muslim goatherders ALLEGEDLY involved in terror".

Even the socialist Chileans were talking about taking violent action against the Spanish for violating Chilean sovereignity over Pinochet.

While most Leftist butchers like Mugabe and the Castro brothers can travel anywhere and are safe from the "human rights lawyers" - hypothetically, if they DID target someone like Putin - we all know that Russia would not stand for them grabbing Putin over "depredations on the noble Chechen Muslims". Spetnaz and Russian warships would deploy.

I think America would react violently to Madeline Albright being seized for "war crimes of starving Iraqi children", Clinton for Bosnia, Obama for launching Predator missiles on "innocent until proven quilty" Islamoids.

Smarter lefties know this too. Therefore the "arrest threats" are mainly for publicity. They really don't want Spetnaz or US Marines "locked and loaded" storming the activists law offices. Or the Chinese gutting Euro economies in retaliation for some nest of "outraged lawyers" imprisoning Chinese officials over what China does internally.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | February 8, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Let's not dismiss the possibility so easily. The 1984 Torture Convention (to which the US and all European countries are signatories) allows member states to take jurisdiction over suspected torturers if the victim was a national, the perpetrator was a national or the act was committed on their soil. What the Milanese prosecutor describes as 'Italian law' applies only in Italy (where one has very little expectations from the law in any case, if Berlusconi is any example). It is irrelevant to the rest of Europe or the world. More to the point, many countries, such as Germany, provide for universal jurisdiction over international crimes such as torture. Even the US makes torture anywhere in the world a crime under federal law. The purpose of such legislation is to render state torture with impunity a thing of the past. Pinochet was found by the House of Lords to be subject to trial or extradition to Spain. He was not sent to Spain because Home Secretary Jack Straw saved him from extradition because of his age. Finally, the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction if the acts were committed in a signatory state or against a national of a signatory state, regardless of the US failure to join its founding Treaty. It is a lack of political will allow that Bush and Rumsfeld to avoid prosecution, not law. And as we see, they are not traveling so obviously they don't have the same faith in their invincibility that such characters may have had in the past.

Posted by: vmbrown | February 8, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

So much for equal justice under law.

Posted by: onyx592 | February 8, 2011 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Almost nil... there's still a ray of hope.

Posted by: whocares666 | February 9, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Europeans are so-communists. Andropov was applauded for invading Afghanistan in 1979. And the Soviet invasion of Czecholovakia in 1968. And the Russians invaded Hungary in 1956. Those were bravola by left-wing liberals in the US in solidarity with communism.

Posted by: Rockvillers | February 9, 2011 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Arrest?

I thought that W was just worried about getting smacked in the face with all those shoes people were getting ready!

W is for "Weenie," as usual!

Posted by: JC505 | February 9, 2011 12:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm no great fan of Bush, but if Europe thinks that they can invite our leaders, current or retired, to their countries only to arrest them, I suggest they go look at some pictures of post-war Berlin. Because, if they want to start world war 3, well we can do that, and they sure as hell aren't up to winning.

Posted by: Nymous | February 9, 2011 1:52 AM | Report abuse

First a small response to Rockvillers. I don’t think the Europeans living in Hungary or what was then Czecholovakia, supported the Russian invasion of their countries.

What should also be noted is that many European countries have legal systems in which citizens can force prosecutors to bring an indictment. And as the prosecutors are largely independent of the political arena, unlike in the USA where it seems every two bit DA wants to run for higher office, wants and whishes of politicians are rather secondary.

So if Bush comes to Europe an indictment could and should be brought. And it is unlikely that a judge would consider parole for a person accused of torture, without any residency in the EU. (although house arrest after turning in his passport and with electronic surveillance is an option, just as with Assange)

Worse for Bush is that a conviction seems pretty easy to achieve after his admission that he did order torture on people. Even though said people could be mass murdering terrorists them self.

Posted by: jolmer | February 9, 2011 3:07 AM | Report abuse

if you go after President Bush...
you have to go after obama as well...
and the members of congress...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 9, 2011 4:53 AM | Report abuse

Bush is no Pinochet. No Americans were rounded up and murdered except by the Islamists who cut their heads off. The Swiss embraced the Nazis and we all know how many lives they took. The leftists using such names as Constitutional Rights do not love the US Constitution or the USA. They use the rights this country gives them in very destructive ways. No foreign country should honor their twisted propaganda any more than the USA should bow to the crazies from foreign countries.

Posted by: mlbduffy | February 9, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Too bad, that moron w is a killer and should be exposed to the rule of law no matter where it goes. It and the teabagheads have no shame.

Posted by: letemhaveit | February 9, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

You have just got to laugh at the baggers. Who would die or send their kids to die for Bush? I have no doubt that the righties wills cream for us to send our kids to save that pathetic lap dog, but surely they know we will be just a vociferous that that animal finally be brought to justice.

To any country out there that still believes in justice and human rights, this American says go for it!!!

Posted by: lord166 | February 9, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Well I guess Amnesty International will now start pushing to indict all the members of Congress who voted for the Iraq war. Oh, and Obama, for killing scores of innocent civilians in Pakistan with drones. And Bill Clinton, for beginning the policy of extraordinary rendition, and for attacking a country, Serbia, that posed absolutely no threat to the USA.

No? Gee, I wonder why not?

Posted by: Jeff08 | February 9, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

It did seem rather odd that a country who welcomes Nazis, bankers, and rapist movie directors would put a prior American president at risk just because he belongs to a different political party.

Then again, Norway gave Obama a Nobel Peace Prize, and his policies on Iraq and Afghanistan are indistinguishable from those of George Bush.

Posted by: Benson | February 9, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

European and American leftists live in their own parallel universe, certain of their own intellectual and moral superiority, and one where they criminalize political activity that they disagree with. Arresting a conservative US President anywhere, and trying him for a crime against humanity, is their fondest dream. Not gonna happen. In the real world, any sitting US President would have to pick up the phone and say something along the following line: "In two hours, a US aircraft from Andrews AFB will land in your country. Have our former President at the airport for departure. Understand that if you don't, I will send whatever number of US military personnel are required to extract him from your jail."

Posted by: seguintx | February 9, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

What Bush should be is ADDITIONALLY charged is for allowing the pre-planned Sept 11 2001 attacks/killings and the invasion of Afghastan. Georgie Boy is worse than a war criminal--a Devil's Reject
I cann't believe some posters are comparing Castro/Putin/Hu to the crimes of Bush/Clinton.Dumber than Dumb :^(

Posted by: geo1671 | February 9, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

To geo1671: You really need to give up hard drugs before they drive you totally insane.

Posted by: seguintx | February 9, 2011 9:05 AM | Report abuse

In related news, Gotham's District Attorney Harvey Dent stated today that Batman has little chance of being arrested for his style of vigilante justice and destruction of public property because "he has a real nack for totally disappearing on us when we look away for just a second."

Posted by: pswift00 | February 9, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

hah! Look at all these empty threats against Europe, what's the matter boys, your wee-wee is too tiny, gotta play like it's not?

Pathetic. You fools are as much a bunch of needle dicks as these fools in Europe making the threats. Really, you should get rooms together, you'd be able to show off how tiny you are.

Posted by: eezmamata | February 9, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

To eezmamata: Keep trying, and sooner or later, you'll graduate out of the 7th grade.

Posted by: seguintx | February 9, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Too bad, that moron w is a killer and should be exposed to the rule of law no matter where it goes. It and the teabagheads have no shame.

Posted by: letemhaveit

============================================

As I have been saying all along this has much more to do with a pathological hatred for political opponents and a bloodlust for revenge than any sense of rule of law.

And as another poster has noted, funny that all the lefties never seem to have that same sense of "justice" for real despots around the world.

Posted by: bbface21 | February 9, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Arrested in Europe?? Most of his crimes were committed in the USA. Why don't they arrest him here?

Posted by: glenmayne | February 9, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

War Crimes? Give me a break. How quickly Americans forget about 9/11.

Posted by: Jsuf | February 9, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

RE: "One, danger that a person could repeat the same serious crime; two, a danger he could became a fugitive; and three, a danger he could destroy or tamper with evidence.”

Pinochet was arrested despite the fact he could not repeat the crime, was not a fugitive and was not in a position to tamper with evidence as he had been out of office for twenty years and was in his eighties at that time.

So how is it that Bush is immune?

Posted by: BobSanderson | February 9, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

One report is that the ACLU, and William Hustler (sp), remember that name? Is behind the continual "Bush bashing", hoping to keep up the war on conservatives....
These are people who defend the terrorists! They have no regard for the American people, and will attempt to destroy this country, no matter the cost!...

Posted by: SeniorVet | February 9, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

It's funny how giddy Lefty gets every time a non-story like this proposes that President Bush is somehow at risk of indictment, arrest and/or prosecution for "war crimes." The simple reality is Bush will never be prosecuted for anything that may have happened under his administration because he, like Clinton before him and Obama now, had plausible deniability. He would not have known the level to which those serving in the field went in securing intel, and the whole "Buck Stops Here" rhetoric is just that: rhetoric. If you go after Bush now you must also go after Obama for the many transgressions that have occured at Guantanamo during his term of office. Of course, being "fair and balanced", I am sure that WaPo will print a similar story tomorrow about how radical left Nazi sympathizers in Switzerland are now calling for Obama to be indicted. What? No such article will be published? Hmmmm...

Posted by: josh27 | February 9, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Bush will never travel again out of the USA.
Why, because he is a coward.
A coward who is directly responsible for the torturing of hundreds of Iraqis', the murder of over 100,000 Iraqi citizens and the murder of over 4,000 American soldiers.
He is a coward who should be hanged immediately by the neck until dead.
That is why the coward will never travel out of the USA ever again.

Posted by: JimW2 | February 9, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Bush will never travel again out of the USA.
Why, because he is a coward.
A coward who is directly responsible for the torturing of hundreds of Iraqis', the murder of over 100,000 Iraqi citizens and the murder of over 4,000 American soldiers.
He is a coward who should be hanged immediately by the neck until dead.
That is why the coward will never travel out of the USA ever again.

Posted by: JimW2 | February 9, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse


I enjoyed seeing President Bush at the Super Bowl and people cheering when his attendance was announced.


It’s probably wrong to smile when such events pain the loony left so much, but I suspect I’ll smile many more times in the future!


Posted by: bcarte1 | February 9, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Arrest Bush immediately! There is a huge "danger he could destroy or tamper with evidence.” He has already attempted to reach back in time and rewrite history. The evidence is right there, on the discount book rack. He has also enlisted his former cronies in an effort to deny facts, twist them out of recognition, and cover up all evidence of his lying, smirking, thieving ways.

Bush should have been arrested on January 21, 2008, and charged with war crimes.

Posted by: Chagasman | February 9, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

There are probably at least 100 countries in the world with secret prisons, almost certainly including some of those sophisticated European ones. I'd speculate the U.S. used such places since world war II. The only difference is they were kept on the down low then, and not out in the open like Gitmo. Folks shouldn't be so naive about how nasty the world really is, and the lengths countries go to to protect national security. It all goes back to the old adage, 'how do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.'

Posted by: pswift00 | February 9, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The Texas Moron "not at risk of arrest in Europe"? Why not?
The G.D. basterd is a criminal by his own admission.

Posted by: analyst72 | February 9, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Given that Mr. Bush admitted to ordering torture, how is it that he has not been indicted for his crimes?

Posted by: Rocket88 | February 9, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Bush....Bush was a real character....listen to what this guy has to say about his actions....
http://reallionnaire.blogspot.com/

Posted by: seanawilliams2001 | February 9, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

How do we know "that Bush has not been indicted anywhere"? That is very sloppy reporting by WAPO. Indictments can be sealed and held until they can actually be executed.

Posted by: andrewp111 | February 9, 2011 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Bush will never travel outside of the USA because why should he take the risk? There are people all over the world who want his head. The example of Pinochet is a matter of record. The EU has set themselves up as the givers of international law, and I doubt that Obama would do anything to protect Bush while traveling overseas. There is nothing stopping bush from giving speeches to foreign audiences over the internet.

Posted by: andrewp111 | February 9, 2011 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Intellectual weenieism is right. No, Bush is no longer in politics but any such action would run afoul of the nation's right to manage international policy. No president would be able to create national policy without fear of being prosecuted later.

The fact of the matter is Bush executed policy on behalf of a legitimate government. Ultimately, it's you and your fault as voter if you don't like results.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | February 10, 2011 8:14 AM | Report abuse

They can saw whatever they want to say, and then they can change their minds or hold him and then issue the indictment, but Bush isn't going, so that speaks volumes.

Posted by: lindalovejones | February 10, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

TO: ChrisFord1 who wrote:
“… I would not want to be the pathetic, tiny European country that bows to Lefty lawyers and seizes a Bill Clinton, Bush, Vlad Putin, Hu Jintao for "war crimes" …”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Bill Clinton didn’t start any wars, nor did he order anyone to be tortured, like Bush did and Cheney admitted to, and you can definitely forget about America sending in troops or attacking anybody for holding George W. Bush for crimes against humanity.

George W. Bush and his cronies stole enough oil and money and are so rich they can afford to hire their own army if they think they need one.

The article is about what foreign countries are planning and has nothing at all to do with the democrat party or any liberal leftists in this country. If we could have got him it would have happened a long time ago.

So, where are those “spoils of war” the Bush Administration picked up from Iraq?


Posted by: lindalovejones | February 10, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

TO: bcarte1 who wrote:
“… It’s probably wrong to smile when such events pain the loony left so much, but I suspect I’ll smile many more times in the future!”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Don’t forget to smile while you’re paying back all that money Bush borrow and spent while he was in office too.

Bush was the most hated president in recent history, which is probably why he never leaves Texas, let alone the United States.


Posted by: lindalovejones | February 10, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Bush knows he's on borrowed time and the evidence proves he's a War Criminal. His Dad advised him not to go overseas because he would be arrested and other Countries are doing the same thing. America wont report the facts that evidence was already presented that Bush/Cheney kidnapped innocent men/woman/children and tortured/killed them. Bush is well aware of this and that's why Bush announced he's out of politics.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | February 11, 2011 4:07 AM | Report abuse

Bush knows he's on borrowed time and the evidence proves he's a War Criminal. His Dad advised him not to go overseas because he would be arrested and other Countries are doing the same thing. America wont report the facts that evidence was already presented that Bush/Cheney kidnapped innocent men/woman/children and tortured/killed them. Bush is well aware of this and that's why Bush announced he's out of politics.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | February 11, 2011 4:11 AM | Report abuse

where were you?


4 million innocent died at least in Iraq at 2003 while the Bush "operation" ;kids ahh kids ahh hearting my heart and babies,old women and men,they couldn't find the coffins for their deaths.

So now is America afraiding from the terrorists or muslims or what?They are crying their troops,what were they looking there?That was the big lie,to bring the democracy and defence the land and for freedom.

But someones covering the the truths because the 9/11 reason was the oil money that 600 billion $ in total 8 Trillion $ which was taken by Henri Kissinger from the Arabish.HAHAHAHA Now 137 Trillion $

You said Hitler and Stalin,etc maybe killed more than millions and millions but we can't show the bad exampels to the eachothers never and never,why?if the USA is representatives of the Rome,because the Rome was not imperial,though it's sit down on the Pagan Culture.

I'm sitting on the culture more than 7000 years,USA should exist the peace in by it self at first,now I'm asking you were an old soldier too,

What's USA looking for in Vietnam,Iraq,Japan,Europe,Asia,Midleast,etc

Do you know how many ground lines your country is in war?

I say,6 ground lines now.

Did you bring peace,democracy?

What did USA bring?


No No You just brought pain,violence, tears,scattered families and childrens without dad and mom to that country's nations.

Posted by: jonywaspuh | February 11, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

eddickau, whocares666, analysr72 and all the rest of you juvenile dimwits:
Throw a huge 9/11 party, every year, do you?

Posted by: graywolf98 | February 11, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

People these laws are your laws and America has pursued those who have broken the same laws. He is a self admitted war criminal who should be brought to justice along with his cronies. If this does not happen perhaps we could adopt Israels system when justice is not upheld- Goldas List! Bigger criminals Goldman & Sacks list could also be added! :O)

Posted by: Sharpy | February 11, 2011 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Gee isn't it wonderful heads of State and Former heads of state have immunity from War Crimes arrest while traveling out of their Countries so why did Noriega get prosecuted and Hitler would be Immune as well.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | February 12, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Atten: Editor. The unpunished criminal in this country, in my opinion, is former the former president who authorized, in violation of our Constitution, the torturing of prisoners. In enlisting in the U.S. Navy, at the beginning of WWII,I raised my hand in solemn oath, to uphold and defend that document against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Posted by: Cyrano | February 14, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Atten: Editor. You requested my comments,without limitations, and you received them. Cyrano objects to being arbitrarily shut out.
The former president has committed those acts, and you know it, and Cyrano knows it!
and shamefully, the world knows it. Signed: Cyrano!!

Posted by: Cyrano | February 14, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Original Entry!! Cyrano.

Posted by: Cyrano | February 14, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Yeah - stuff like this will all be footnotes and eventually disappear from history altogether. His handlers and GOP Revisionists will make sure that history regards him more than just favorably...his creds have already improved.

Posted by: USA4ALL | February 14, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

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