AMSTERDAM — A Dutch judge has ruled that US President George W. Bush can visit the Netherlands as planned this weekend and should not be arrested.
The ruling in a court in The Hague on Wednesday comes after a group of Dutch nationals lodged legal action against the State in the lead-up to Bush’s visit.
The activists demanded that Bush be arrested or a court order issued to block his entry to the Netherlands due to “numerous, flagrant breaches of the Geneva Convention“.
However, the judge rejected the request on the grounds that such a refusal was a political matter and therefore not something the court could rule on.
Granting the request would also have had “far reaching consequences for relations between the Netherlands and the US,” the judge said.
The request was lodged by several peace organisations and city parties, namely Haagse Stadsparti, the Stichting Haags Vredesplatform, the Vereniging van Anti-Fascistische Oud-Verzetsstrijders Nederland, the Vereniging van Juristen voor Vrede.
Several individuals living in The Hague were also involved.
The activists claim that Bush is responsible for countless civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, the torture of prisoners and the fact the US has refused to recognise the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Bush will fly into the southern Dutch city of Maastricht on Saturday night and stay at the nearby Chateau St Gerlach in Houthem.
On Sunday, he will attend a ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial at Margraten near Maastricht.
During his visit, Bush will meet with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Queen Beatrix before departing again later on Sunday.