Tuesday, November 14, 2006

War Crimes Suit Filed against Rumsfeld - Der Spiegel

David Seaton's News Links
Isn't this dreadful? I'm shocked. Has anybody told Baltazar Garzón about this? DS
A coalition of human rights groups has filed a criminal lawsuit against former US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld in Germany, accusing him of war crimes. A first attempt to prosecute him in 2004 failed, but the activists feel they have a better chance this time -- and they have a powerful witness on their side.(...) The coalition, led by the New York-based civil rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), filed a criminal complaint against Rumsfeld on Tuesday at the Federal Prosecutor's Office in Karlsruhe, Germany. The complaint calls on the prosecutor to investigate whether high-ranking US officials authorized war crimes in the context of the war on terror. The complaint is being brought on behalf of 12 alleged torture victims, 11 of whom are Iraqi citizens who were held at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. The twelfth man is Guantanamo detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi citizen identified by the US as a would-be participant in the 9/11 attacks and held at Guantanamo since January 2006. After al-Qahtani did not respond to normal questioning, he was allegedly subjected to a regime of aggressive interrogation techniques, approved by Rumsfeld and known as the "First Special Interrogation Plan," which included severe sleep deprivation, forced nudity, and sexual and religious humiliation. Military investigators concluded in July 2005 that al-Qahtani had been subjected to abusive and degrading treatment, although the Pentagon denied he had been tortured.(...) The human rights groups have not just set their sights on Rumsfeld, though. The suit names 11 other high-ranking US officials, including current US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet, and Ricardo Sanchez, the former commander of all US forces in Iraq. They are all accused of either ordering, aiding, or failing to prevent war crimes. "There crimes are not the work of a few bad apples," said CCR president Michael Ratner. "They were planned and executed at the highest levels of the US government."(...) CCR and its partner organizations filed a similar complaint in 2004, but it was dropped. They claim the US pressured Germany to drop the case, which was dismissed in February 2005 on the eve of a visit by Rumsfeld to Germany.(...) The activists believe that Nehm's successor, Monika Harms, who took office earlier this year, may be more amenable to their cause.(...) And the human rights groups have an ace up their sleeve: Janis Karpinski, the former commander of Abu Ghraib, will appear as a witness on their behalf. "Janis Karpinski is the witness," commented Kaleck. "The plaintiffs can and should testify (about) what happened to them, but on the other hand they cannot testify who ordered and enforced the interrogation methods, and who conducted them. You must have someone from the apparatus, and this is Janis Karpinski."(...) And even if Rumsfeld gets off again in Germany, Kaleck told the Tagesspiegel he is confident the former secretary of defense will get his comeuppance elsewhere: "If not today in Germany, then Rumsfeld will get problems tomorrow in Spain, or the next day in Sweden." READ ALL

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