President George W Bush was never a great traveler, but if he was planning to get more adventurous in retirement he may find that there are few countries he can visit freely.

Having proudly admitted in his memoirs that he authorised the waterboarding of prisoners, the former president is now facing an international indictment calling for his arrest on charges of torture.

Media reports say it is fear of prosecution in an international court that's led Bush to abruptly cancel a trip to Switzerland, where he was to speak at a dinner organised by a pro-Israel group.

Amnesty International said that on Friday it had sent prosecutors "a detailed factual and legal analysis of President Bush's criminal responsibility for acts of torture" and concluded "that Switzerland had enough information to open a criminal investigation".

The official line is that he cancelled because of "security concerns", but even his most ardent champion, Fox News, seems to think that fear of arrest was the prime motivation.