The leader of Denmark’s Socialist People’s party has distanced himself from calls from his human rights spokesman to prosecute former U.S. president George W. Bush. Villy Sovndal admitted that Bush, who led the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, was “a scoundrel”, but said it was up to the American people to decide the fate or their former leader.
His comments came after Kamal Qureshi called for action to be taken against Bush if he ever came to Denmark. “We need to openly declare that we will prosecute Bush if he lands on Danish ground,” he said, adding that Denmark would lose “credibility” in Afghanistan if it does not live up to international human rights conventions and prosecute the Republican.
Qureshi made his comments in response to Bush’s newly released autobiography in which he claims ‘waterboarding’ is an effective way of reducing terrorism. The interrogation method, which has since been banned by President Barack Obama, sees heavy wet cloth draped over the nose and mouth of detainees to simulate drowning. Human rights groups across the world have condemned the practice as torture.
After Querishi’s comments, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman Naser Khader pushed Sovndal to either support or reject the call. “If Sovndal does support the view, he immediately disqualifies himself as a future foreign minister,” Khader said in a report by Berlingske Tidende newspaper.
In response to the article, Sovndal later said, “Bush was a rascal and a scoundrel. But it’s up to the Americans themselves to decide whether the issue should lead to a trial. It’s not as if there’s an international warrant on him.”