December 19th 2005
In a brief judgment today, Madam Justice Deborah Satanove of the Supreme Court of British Columbia rejected an appeal by the Canadian-based Lawyers Against the War (LAW) against the staying of torture charges laid against President George W. Bush last year. The judgment, which came after three weeks of deliberation but was less than five pages in length, declared the appeal “an abuse of process”. Relying on a contested nine-word passage in the transcript of the secret hearing held last year, Judge Satanove declared that the real intentions of LAW were "to use the criminal procedure as a forum to express political views". According to the court, the passage could be read as a disavowal by LAW of any intention to seek the issuance of a summons or warrant against the US President. The judge ignored all the other arguments on both sides of the case.
LAW immediately declared that it would appeal the decision.
"We can't fathom how the transcript could be read the way the judge read it," said LAW Co-Chair Gail Davidson in Vancouver. "We stated clearly at both hearings that we are seeking to have Bush put on trial. What's more incredible is how, so far, two Canadian courts have resolutely refused to let the evidence be heard in open court so that justice can take its course. Instead, the government and the courts keep raising trivial technical obstacles. What's at stake here is no longer just Bush's guilt, but the credibility of the rule of law in Canada and our commitment to enforce our own laws and the international treaties Canada has signed that ban torture.”
In Toronto, LAW's other Co-Chair, Professor Michael Mandel added, "It isn't over until you've run out of appeals, and we've got plenty left. We have no choice but to keep going, because American torture is a reality, not just of the past, but also of the present -- and the future unless the law is enforced and Bush is brought to trial.”
For background: www.bushprosecution.org; http://www.nightslantern.ca/law/current.htm
Gail Davidson; firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawyers against the War Current Postings
Posted by Night's Lantern Dec. 20, 2005
Modified Dec. 22, 2005