Human rights group sues Rumsfeld for war crimes

11/30/2004 10:00:00 PM GMT

A U.S. human rights group has filed a criminal complaint in Germany against U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, accusing him and other senior U.S. officials of war crimes and torture at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison.

The CCR accused Rumsfeld of war crimes and

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On Tuesday, the New York-based U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Berlin’s Republican Lawyers’ Association, and four Iraqi civilians, who have been subjected to various forms of torture and abuse by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison, filed a criminal complaint with Germany’s Federal Prosecutors.

CCR said it has chosen Germany because of its Code of Crimes Against International Law, introduced in 2002, which grants German courts universal jurisdiction in cases involving war crimes or crimes against humanity.

The CCR accused Rumsfeld, former CIA Director George Tenet, a senior defense official and seven U.S. military officers, including the former top U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, of being responsible for all forms of torture and abuses that the Iraqi civilians were subjected to at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad.

“We filed these cases here because there is simply no other place to go,” CCR vice president Peter Weiss said in a statement.

“It is clear that the U.S. government is not willing to open an investigation into these allegations against these officials,” he added.

The human rights group, moreover, said that this move was the last resort after the U.S. Congress failed to conduct a proper investigation into Abu Ghraib scandal.

“In a way I am here with a very heavy heart… I would have preferred that our own courts would have taken what happened seriously… but that is not the case in the United States at the moment,” CCR President Michael Ratner said on Tuesday.

On the other hand, the U.S. embassy in Berlin refused to comment on the move. Mr. Rumsfeld, Sanchez and the other senior officers mentioned in the complaint also did not comment on the case.

The Abu Ghraib scandal broke out when photographs showing U.S. soldiers torturing, abusing, and sexually humiliating Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison first surfaced last April, sparking outrage all over the world.

Also, a top-level U.S. inquiry accused the military chain of command of being responsible for creating the environment that allowed the abuses to take place, however, only seven lower ranking military police and an intelligence soldier faced trial so far.

The group said that while U.S. soldiers were facing court martial for abusing and torturing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail, their superiors looked set to escape discipline.

“From Donald Rumsfeld on down, the political and military leaders in charge of Iraq policy must be investigated and held accountable,” the CCR president said.

CCR urged German prosecutors to launch an immediate investigation, but has no firm expectation as to the outcome.

“I would also want to see this case possibly prompting the United States government to say we have to seriously investigate these crimes ourselves,” Ratner told reporters.

“I don’t know where this will lead but certainly if war crimes have been committed it should lead to significant jail sentences for people,” he added.

CCR vice president Peter Weiss said that U.S. government’s failure to pursue those responsible and its justification of various forms of violations due to “extraordinary circumstances” had set a dangerous example.

“This authorization that has come from the highest levels… gives a green light for those kinds of violations throughout the world,” he said.

출처 : 알자지라

그냥 구렁이 담넘어 가듯이 피해간다에 10불.

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