Human Rights Watch demands that Cheney be charged with torture
Human Rights Watch says overwhelming evidence of torture by the Bush administration includes at least two cases involving Canadian citizens.
He's coming to Vancouver next week -- and Ottawa is being asked to charge him when he does.
The Canadian Press has the latest on Dick Cheney's visit.
TORONTO -- A major human rights group Saturday urged the federal government to bring criminal charges against former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney for his alleged role in the torture of Canadian detainees.
Cheney will be in Vancouver on Monday to promote his book "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,'' which outlines his version of the war on terror and other events during the administration of president George W. Bush.
Human Rights Watch said overwhelming evidence of torture by the Bush administration, including at least two cases involving Canadian citizens, obligates Canada to investigate Cheney to comply with the Convention Against Torture.
In addition, the New York-based group said, 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 of Canada.
It recalled 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 Cheney could not be 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 Khadr.
"Canada's own investigation into the Maher Arar case shows there is sufficient evidence to investigate Cheney for authorizing torture,'' Roth said.
"Bush, Cheney, and others authorized the abusive detention regime that Canadians and thousands of others were subjected to. They should be held accountable.''
Antiwar activists are expected to protest in Vancouver during Cheney's trip.