By Joshua Daniel Hershfield 11/14/06
An international grouping of lawyers has filed a 220-page
lawsuit, calling on German prosecutors to investigate Donald Rumsfeld for
sanctioning torture. The complaint asks Germany’s federal prosecutor Monika Harms to open an investigation and criminal prosecution that will examine the responsibility of high ranking US officials in the authorization of war crimes in the context of the so-called “War on Terror.”
The suit is being brought on behalf of 11 detainees from Abu Ghraib and 1 detainee from Guantanamo Bay. The detainees, under the control of the US military,
suffered electric shock, severe beatings, sleep and food deprivation, and
As Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld has presided over these crimes and many more:
The massacre of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians at Haditha by US Marines on Nov. 19, 2005
The brutal military assault on Fallujah
Torture at Abu Ghraib
German law allows the pursuit of war crimes cases regardless
of where in the world they occur.
Wolfgang Kaleck, the German lawyer representing the
detainees, expressed confidence and determination in a press conference in Berlin. “If we fail here, we will try in France, or in Spain,” he said. “We want to show that there will be no
safe haven anywhere in the world for him.”
Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and former CIA director
George Tenet are charged in the complaint as well.
The Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights and the US-based
Center for Constitutional rights are also involved in the suit.
The president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner, said
in an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, “What is critical to us
is, first of all, is to really bring public attention to this matter, to say
that these people have engaged in a torture program and that there be some
accountability for it. Whether we ever put Donald Rumsfeld in jail or not, I
cannot say, but hopefully, hopefully, this case and other kinds of
investigations will expose, stop, and hold accountable these officials.”
People can go to the Center for Constitutional Rights website and send a letter to
the German prosecutor, urging her to open a prosecution in these cases.
The Center’s website is ccr-ny.org