The following was forwarded to me from the Raging Grannies. The concept of
Canada arresting Bush for war crimes is intriguing. Read the letter to the
PM below about Bush's visit and its implication regarding Canada's
professed stand on war crimes.

Dear All,
As you undoubtedly know, George Bush is to come to Ottawa November 30 and
December 1. Lawyers against the War has written a letter to Paul Martin,
Irwin Cotler and Bill Graham asking that Bush's planned visit be cancelled
and that Bush be declared a persona non grata.
I have pasted the letter in below. Please distribute this widely. I can
send it as an attachment if you wish. LAW is also working on an indictment
of Bush.
Protests are planned for November 30 at noon (general demonstration
against the Bush regime) and at 5pm specifically against the war. I wonder
whether we should organize a group under a banner like "scholars against
the war"? What do you think?


Amy Bartholomew

The Honourable Bill Graham P.C. Q.C. M.P.
Minister of National Defence
General George Pearkes Building
101 Colonel By Drive - 13th Floor
Ottawa Ontario K1A 0K2
Tel: 613 992 5234
Fax: 613 996 8607
Email: Graham.B@parl.gc.ca

The Honourable Irwin Cotler
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
312 West Block
House of Commons
Ottawa Ontario K1A 0A6
Tel: 613 992 4621
Fax: 613 990 7255
Email: Cotler.I@parl.gc.ca
Lawyers Against the War
Tel: +1 604 738-0338
Fax: +1 604 736-1175
Email: law@portal.ca
Website: www.lawyersagainstthewar.org

Dear Prime Minister Martin:
It was with absolute dismay that we learned of the planned visit of
President Bush to Canada on November 30th 2004. Surely you are aware
of the many grave crimes against humanity and war crimes for which
President Bush stands properly accused by the world, starting with the
Nuremberg Tribunal's 'supreme international crime' of waging an
aggressive war against Iraq in defiance of international law and the
Charter of the United Nations, and including systematic and massive
violations of the Geneva Conventions Relative to the Treatment of
Prisoners of War and Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in
Time of War, as well as the United Nations Convention Against Torture
and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. As
recently as November 16, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and
former war crimes prosecutor Louise Arbour called for an investigation
into crimes against the Geneva Conventions in the assault by US forces
on the densely populated city of Fallujah. The terrible toll in life
and limb of these crimes was documented in a study carried out by the
Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in Baltimore and
published in the October 29, 2004 issue of the British Medical Journal
The Lancet which conservatively estimated that the war had taken 100,000
Iraqi lives, mostly women and children. This was well within the range
predicted before the war, for example by a British affiliate of
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War who, in
November 2002, assessed the probable death toll at a minimum of 48,000
deaths, mostly civilians, and predicted that post-war conditions would
cost an additional 200,000 lives. The President's responsibility for
these offences derives not only from his 'command responsibility' as
Commander in Chief of US forces, for crimes that he knew were being
committed, or ignored through willful blindness, but did nothing to
prevent; it also comes from his direct involvement in the formulation of
policy. This includes his personal involvement not only in the devising
and waging of an aggressive, illegal war, but also of the unlawful
refusal to grant prisoner of war status to prisoners of war, contrary to
specific provisions of the Geneva Conventions, an act repudiated in the
US Courts. It also includes the approval of techniques of interrogation
by his direct subordinate, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, that legally
and morally constitute torture and that led directly to the disgraceful
violence against Iraqi prisoners, for example at the prison at Abu
Ghraib. As you know, not only are these acts criminal under
international law, but many of them are also criminal under Canadian
law, under laws enacted in pursuance of our international obligations,
most importantly the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, put in
place just four years ago under a Liberal government. They also violate
the provisions on torture in the Canadian Criminal Code. By these
laws, Canadians and non-Canadians alike are liable to prosecution in
Canada, no matter where in the world they have committed their crimes.
Furthermore, as the Attorney General can advise, the fact that these
crimes have been committed by Mr. Bush while President of the United
States is absolutely irrelevant to his personal liability to prosecution
in Canada, according to principles established at Nuremberg and
universally recognized since then, including by the British House of
Lords in the Pinochet case in 1999. And if President Bush were to visit
Canada after leaving office, we would be seeking the Attorney General's
permission under section 9 of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes
Act and section 7 of the Criminal Code to commence proceedings against
him. However, as you also know, should President Bush come to Canada
now, while still President, he would be clothed with both diplomatic and
head of state immunity from our laws and we would be powerless to bring
him to justice. Your invitation in these circumstances, therefore, shows
contempt for both Canadian and international law and is a grievous
insult to the literally hundreds of thousands of victims of President
Bush's international crimes. It is also our belief that the invitation
endangers Canadians' security at home and abroad, because it is a
departure from our steadfast refusal to this point to participate in
this criminal war of the Bush administration. In fact, it is our belief
that this invitation can only act as an encouragement to President Bush
in his continuing criminal activity, providing him with an important
platform in this, his first post re-election foreign visit, to defend
illegal US actions in Iraq and to improve his international standing
despite them, all this against the wishes of the majority of Canadians.
Indeed, we feel bound to point out that your invitation to President
Bush may thus constitute an abetting of the crimes he and his
administration and military continue to commit. As such you and your
colleagues could be personally liable to prosecution under the Crimes
against Humanity and War Crimes Act by virtue of section 21 of the
Canadian Criminal Code, for crimes so serious that they are punishable
in Canada by up to life imprisonment. Abetting a crime, as the Attorney
General will advise, is regarded as equally criminal to actually
committing it and is complete when one intentionally, knowingly, or with
willful blindness encourages the commission of a crime by another.
Nor would President Bush's immunity be capable of shielding you and your
colleagues from prosecution, because, as the Attorney General will advise,
the immunity applies only to foreign officials visiting Canada and not
to members of the Canadian government itself. Nor does the inability to
prosecute a criminal affect the criminal liability of an abettor. It
is for all these reasons we urgently request a meeting with you, the
Foreign Minister, the Attorney General or your representatives in Ottawa,
so that we might have the opportunity to elaborate on these matters and
to persuade you to declare President Bush persona non grata in Canada,
or at least to rescind this invitation, and thus to avoid implicating
yourselves and Canada in the most serious of international crimes.

Michael Mandel and Gail Davidson on behalf of Lawyers against the War (LAW) a Canada-based committee of  jurists and others with members in thirteen countries.

Contacts: Michael Mandel, Professor
Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3.
Tel: 416 736-5039,
Fax: 416-736-5736
Email: MMandel@osgoode.yorku.ca 

Gail Davidson
Tel: 604 738 0338
Fax: 604 736 1175
Email: law@portal.ca

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