President G. W. Bush cancelled the keynote speech he was to give in Geneva; he feared arrest.
Human rights groups said they had intended to submit a 2,500-page case against Bush in the Swiss city on Monday for alleged mistreatment of suspected militants at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. naval base in Cuba where captives from Afghanistan, Iraq and other fronts in the so-called War on Terror were interned.
Leftist groups had also called for a protest on the day of his visit next Saturday, leading Keren Hayesod’s organizers to announce that they were cancelling Bush’s participation on security grounds — not because of the criminal complaints.
But groups including the New York-based Human Rights Watch and International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) said the cancellation was linked to growing moves to hold Bush accountable for torture, including waterboarding. He has admitted in his memoirs and television interviews to ordering use of the interrogation technique that simulates drowning.
“He’s avoiding the handcuffs,” Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.