Monday, January 01, 2007

In Search of a Criminal: Donald Rumsfeld's Name Tops the List of Accused of War Crimes

By Alexia Garamfalvi
Legal Times December 25, 2006
No one thinks that Donald Rumsfeld will end his days in a German prison. Or that there is any real chance he will have to face trial in Germany over allegations that he authorized policies leading to the torture of prisoners at U.S. detention facilities in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. But that doesn’t mean that a complaint filed in Germany last month won’t have some ripple effects. The complaint asks a federal prosecutor there to begin an investigation, and ultimately a criminal prosecution, of the former secretary of defense and other U.S. officials for their roles in the abuses. “Rumsfeld is no longer untouchable,” says Wolfgang Kaleck, the German lawyer who filed the complaint along with the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights. “He is now deeply connected with claims of abuses and torture. We have taken the first step to begin the legal discussion on his accountability.” The complaint against Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet, and other senior civilian and military officials, was filed in mid-November on behalf of 11 Iraqis who had been detained at Abu Ghraib prison and Mohammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi detained at Guantánamo. It alleges that the defendants ordered, aided, and abetted war crimes and failed to prevent the commission of war crimes by their subordinates. In international law, war crimes are defined as grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, including torture and inhuman treatment.
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