Revolution #69, November 19, 2006


Rumsfeld to be Accused of War Crimes Before German Court

Lawyers from Germany and the U.S. are preparing to present a formal complaint in German court on November 14 to seek criminal prosecution of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and several other major U.S. officials for war crimes.

Shortly before he left for Germany, Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and one of the lawyers working on this case, said on Democracy Now!: “One of the shocking things really so far about the coverage of Rumsfeld’s resignation, there’s not a word in any of it about torture. And here, Rumsfeld is one of the architects of the torture program of the United States.”

Lawyers in this case are preparing to document how Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials, including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former CIA director George Tenet, authorized such torture.

The complaint will be brought in German court on behalf of 12 torture victims—11 Iraqis brutalized in Abu Ghraib prison and one Guantánamo detainee. The Iraqis say they were victims of electric shock, severe beatings, sleep and food deprivation, and sexual abuse.

This new court action builds on a complaint previously filed in German court, and the lawyers say they have substantial new evidence that reveals just how closely Rumsfeld was involved in directing the torture of a U.S. captive at Guantánamo named al-Qahtani. Ratner says that this evidence shows that “Rumsfeld essentially supervised that entire interrogation [of the prisoner al-Qahtani], one of the worst interrogations that happened at Guantánamo.”

One of the witnesses expected to testify in Germany is former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was once commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq. Karpinski has already issued a written statement to accompany the legal filing, which says: “It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.”

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