Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Do Canadian Prisons Allow Conjugal Visits? 

Just wondering, since the Toronto Star’s Thomas Walkom asks:

Should Canada Indict Bush?

When U.S. President George W. Bush arrives in Ottawa — probably later this year — should he be welcomed? Or should he be charged with war crimes?

It's an interesting question. On the face of it, Bush seems a perfect candidate for prosecution under Canada's Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

This act was passed in 2000 to bring Canada's ineffectual laws in line with the rules of the new International Criminal Court. While never tested, it lays out sweeping categories under which a foreign leader like Bush could face arrest.

In particular, it holds that anyone who commits a war crime, even outside Canada, may be prosecuted by our courts. What is a war crime? According to the statute, it is any conduct defined as such by "customary international law" or by conventions that Canada has adopted.
War crimes also specifically include any breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, such as torture, degradation, wilfully depriving prisoners of war of their rights "to a fair and regular trial," launching attacks "in the knowledge that such attacks will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians" and deportation of persons from an area under occupation.

Outside of one well-publicized (and quickly squelched) attempt in Belgium, no one has tried to formally indict Bush. But both Oxfam International and the U.S. group Human Rights Watch have warned that some of the actions undertaken by the U.S. and its allies, particularly in Iraq, may fall under the war crime rubric.

The case for the prosecution looks quite promising. First, there is the fact of the Iraq war itself. After 1945, Allied tribunals in Nuremberg and Tokyo — in an astonishing precedent — ruled that states no longer had the unfettered right to invade other countries and that leaders who started such conflicts could be tried for waging illegal war...

and there's more at Should Canada Indict Bush?

Ohhhh, me hearties, I know it’ll never happen, but wouldn’t it be too, too great? Picture it: A group of Mounties descends on King George as soon as he disembarks from AF-1, guns drawn, reads the arrest warrant, puts a bag over his head, and claps him in cuffs. Condi looks on in horror and runs after him screaming, “No! Not my husb, er—boss!” and she must be sedated and taken to hospital. Laura, following Condi out, asks for political asylum. The PM refuses to budge—no bail pending trial, but he will allow George to have a lawyer.

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