Globe and Mail
Sep. 24, 2011 *
Prosecute Dick Cheney for torture, human rights group tells Ottawa*
Toronto— The Canadian Press
A human rights group is urging the federal government to bring criminal
charges against former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney, accusing him of
playing a role in the torture of detainees during the years of the Bush
Mr. Cheney will be in Vancouver on Monday to promote his book, In My Time: A
Personal and Political Memoir, which outlines his views of the war on terror
and other events during the administration of president George W. Bush.
Human Rights Watch claims that overwhelming evidence of torture by the Bush
administration, including at least two cases involving Canadian citizens,
are grounds for Canada to investigate Mr. Cheney and comply with the
Convention Against Torture.
In addition, the New York-based group said that Canadian law expressly
provides for jurisdiction over an individual for torture and other crimes if
the complainant is a Canadian citizen, even for offences committed outside
It said in a news release issued Saturday that Canada had ratified the
Convention Against Torture in 1987 and incorporated its provisions into the
Canadian Criminal Code.
“The U.S. has utterly failed to meet its legal obligation to investigate
torture by the Bush administration, but that shouldn’t let other countries
off the hook,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
“Cheney’s visit to Vancouver is a rare opportunity to remedy this shameful
failure to uphold the rule of law.”
A spokesperson for Mr. Cheney could not be reached for comment, but in the
past the former vice-president has been a staunch defender of the policies
of the Bush years.
He frequently appeared on the U.S. talk-show circuit to say he’s
unapologetic about waterboarding and other controversial interrogation
techniques. He has repeatedly insisted such tactics saved “hundreds of
thousands of lives.”
The complaint from the human rights group came on the heels of a New
Democratic Party MP’s call on Friday for the federal government to bar Mr.
Cheney from entering Canada.
Don Davies sent a letter to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney urging the
federal government to deny Mr. Cheney entry, also citing the treatment of
detainees during the Bush administration years.
Mr. Kenney’s office could not be immediately reached for comment.
Human Rights Watch said it had documented the role of senior Bush
administration officials in authorizing torture of detainees, including
“waterboarding” and prolonged exposure to heat and cold.
The group further said the U.S. was directly responsible or complicit in the
alleged torture of at least two Canadian citizens, Maher Arar and Omar
U.S. authorities deported Mr. Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian, back to Syria in
2002 when he stopped in the U.S. on the way home to Canada. He was jailed in
Damascus and tortured into giving false confessions about terrorist links.
Mr. Khadr was convicted a year ago in Guantanamo Bay after pleading guilty
to war crimes he committed as a 15-year-old in Afghanistan.
“Canada’s own investigation into the Maher Arar case shows there is
sufficient evidence to investigate Cheney for authorizing torture,” Mr. Roth
“Bush, Cheney, and others authorized the abusive detention regime that
Canadians and thousands of others were subjected to. They should be held
Antiwar activists are expected to protest in Vancouver during Cheney’s trip.