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Home  >  Activities  >  Litigation  >  TRIAL's cases in Switzerl...  >  George W. Bush (USA - 201...
Last modified on: 12.02.2016

George W. Bush (USA)


George W. Bush, during his US presidential term, ordered, authorised or failed to prevent his subordinates from committing acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against prisoners detained by US authorities. For instance:

Following the allegations of war crimes brought by several NGOs and the ICRC after its visit to the detention center in Guantanamo Bay in January 2002, the Bush administration replied by publishing a memorandum stating that the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols did not apply to Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees. Therefore, besides being tortured, many individuals have been – and still are – indefinitely detained without knowing the reasons for their arrest and without enjoying the right to a fair and equitable trial.


The facts considered above pushed the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)  to act with the legal assistance of TRIAL: knowing that Mr. Bush planned to come to Geneva to give a lecture on 12 February 2011, these organisations prepared a criminal complaint to be submitted to the public prosecutor in Geneva. Many victims joined the criminal complaint and called for Mr. Bush's arrest. For example, one of the witnesses denounced that in March 2002 he had been arrested and interrogated by CIA. During his detention in Guantanamo, he was tortured 83 times and these acts have been filmed and sent to the headquarter of the CIA to be destroyed in November 2005.

Mr. Bush's criminal responsibility would be engaged pursuant to the Convention against Torture (CAT), which does not foresee immunity for former heads of state.

Eventually the criminal complaint was not submitted because Mr. Bush called his visit off, presumably owing to the fear of a prospective criminal procedure.

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