Ethiopia rejects calls for Bush arrest, honors him a prize

December 6th, 2011 | by addis portal |

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

December 4, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) — The Ethiopia government on Sunday dismissed an international rights group’s call for the arrest of former US President, George W. Bush for role in water boarding, which right group campaigners consider as torture.

Last week, Amnesty International appealed on Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia to arrest and bring Bush to justice during his visit to the African countries.

Amnesty argued that “there is enough evidence in the public domain” for the African countries to arrest president Bush, who is responsible for authorizing to the use of water boarding as interrogation technique against terror suspected prisoners in Guantanamo bay, Iraq and in other detention facilities.

Ethiopian government spokesperson, Shimeles Kemal, dismissed Amnesty calls as Bush arrives in Addis Ababa on Sunday to attend the16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA 2011).

“Amnesty has neither the jurisdiction nor the mandate to issue arrest warrants,” said the Ethiopian official.

Amnesty has often accused the horn of Africa’s country of intensifying crack down on government critics and abusing foreign aid and argues foreign aid must stop. Ethiopia has in the past rejected Amnesty and other right group’s accusations as defamatory.

“And from our own bitter experience with Amnesty, its agenda is not justified. No one takes it seriously,” Kemal further said.

The five-day conference on AIDS and STIs (ICASA) in Africa has kicked of last night in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Bush said at the opening ceremony that despite the tremendous achievement a lot remains to be done in arresting the development of AIDS further urging African leaders for more commitment.

“PEPFAR also relies on African leaders to take responsibility for the success of programs,” he said.

“The developing world must set priorities and there is no greater priority than saving a human life,” he added.

During the occasion, President Bush was honored an award in recognition for his support in the HIV and AIDS response to the continent. President Bush received his award from Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi.

Bush along his family is in a three nation African tour since December 1, 2011 to promote and raise awareness to efforts on fight to cervical and breast cancer in the continent.

Zambia has on Saturday dismissed similar calls to arrest Bush.

“On what basis does Amnesty International want us to arrest President Bush?” State media quoted Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister Chishimba Kambwili as saying.

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