Jan. 17, 2006
Vancouver, B.C., Canada – The Canadian-based legal group Lawyers Against the War--LAW filed appeal papers this week challenging the dismissal of torture charges against American President George W. Bush. The case will be heard in the British Columbia Court of Appeal later this year.LAW is an international committee of jurists with members in 14 countries.
The Notice of Appeal lists numerous legal and factual errors committed by two lower courts that have so far heard only preliminary arguments in the case. The errors include the December 6th 2004 ruling by Judge William Kitchen that Bush is immune from prosecution because he is a sitting head of state, as well as the December 19th 2005 ruling by the Supreme Court of B.C. that the prosecution was “an abuse of process” the real intention of which was “to use the criminal procedure as a forum to express political views.”
LAW Co-chair Gail Davidson, who is handling the case in Vancouver, said she is looking forward to a full hearing on the merits before the Court of Appeal: “This is an important stage of the case. LAW is seeking to have Canadian laws against torture properly interpreted and applied and the two lower courts have not allowed a proper hearing of the immunity issue.”
In Toronto, Law Co-chair Michael Mandel denied that LAW is bringing the case forward to express political views. “Canada is obligated under Canadian and international law to act effectively to ‘prevent and punish’ torture, including the torture occurring at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay, and LAW has taken legal steps to enforce Canadian law.”
Gail Davidson; firstname.lastname@example.org