Rumsfeld Under Fire: War Crimes Suit Filed


One of the biggest pricks in America is in more hot water (after resigning last week)

According to German paper Der Spiegel, a coalition of human rights groups has filed a criminal lawsuit against the former US Secretary of Defense.

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 coalition also feel they have more chance of success this time with new evidence, such as documents from the 2005 Congressional hearings on the al-Qahtani case.

Rumsfeld’s resignation last week may also mean that prosecutors are under less political pressure to shun the case, the activists feel. His resignation also means he can no longer try to claim immunity as a sovereign official from international prosecution for war crimes.

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. At the time, then-federal prosecutor Kay Nehm said that there were no indications that the US authorities would “refrain from penal measures” regarding the violations described in the complaint. The activists believe that Nehm’s successor, Monika Harms, who took office earlier this year, may be more amenable to their cause.

Former Commander of Abu Ghraib to testify

The coalition 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.”

Karpinski , who resigned from the army in July 2005, wants to shed light on the incidents that ended her army career. “I served for 28 years,” Karpinski told the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel. “I was entirely committed to the army. Then they make me into a scapegoat.”,1518,druck-448320,00.html


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