Zambia would not arrest former US president George W. Bush during his African tour for violating international torture laws, the foreign minister said on Saturday.
Rights group Amnesty International had on Thursday urged Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia to arrest Bush during the five-day tour to promote efforts to fight diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS and malaria.
“On what basis does Amnesty International want us to arrest Mr Bush? Tell them to hang, and also please ask them to create their own country and wait for Mr Bush to visit their country so that they can arrest him to suit their wish and not here in Zambia,” Zambian Foreign Minister Chishimba Kambwili said while Bush, his wife and daughters ended their visit to Zambia on
Bush was in Zambia on the second stop of the tour, having arrived in Tanzania on Thursday.
Kambwili said Zambia would only arrest Bush if the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other international organizations, such as the UN, asked the southern African country’s government to do so.
Amnesty made a similar appeal to Canada in October when Bush visited British Columbia for an economic summit.
The group said that Bush authorized the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and “waterboarding,” which many see as torture, on detainees held in secret by the CIA between 2002 and 2009.
Amnesty’s case relies on the public record, US documents accessed through freedom of information requests, Bush’s own memoir and a Red Cross report critical of the US’ war on terror policies.
The group cites several instances of alleged torture of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval facility in Cuba, in Afghanistan and in Iraq by the US military.
Bush is warmly remembered across Africa for his US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which since 2003 has provided AIDS treatment to millions on the continent hardest hit by the disease.
Bush started his Africa tour in Tanzania. He launched his Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon project on Friday in Zambia. The project is aimed at expanding the availability of breast care education and cervical cancer screening and treatment.