THE HAGUE – George W. Bush could one day be the International Criminal Court's next target.
David Crane, an international law professor at Syracuse University, said the principle of law used to issue an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir could extend to former US President Bush over claims officials from his Administration may have engaged in torture by using coercive interrogation techniques on terror suspects.
Crane is a former prosecutor of the Sierra Leone tribunal that indicted Liberian President Charles Taylor and put him on trial in The Hague.
Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Programme at Human Rights Watch, said the al-Bashir ruling was likely to fuel discussion about investigations of possible crimes by Bush Administration officials.
Congressional Democrats and other critics have charged that some of the harsh interrogation techniques amounted to torture, a contention that Bush and other officials rejected.
The prospect of the court ever trying Bush is considered extremely remote, however.
The US Government does not recognise the court and the only other way Bush could be investigated is if the Security Council were to order it, something unlikely to happen with Washington a veto-wielding permanent member.