As US organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), has filed a criminal complaint in Germany accusing Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, US
General Ricardo Sanchez and others of war crimes and offences under international law. This is in connection with the scandals at the Abu Ghraib
prison in Iraq. The complaint seeks investigations into the alleged crimes, and is being represented by Wolfgang Kaleck, a Berlin-based lawyer
involved in similar efforts in the Argentine “dirty war.”. The German Code of Crimes provides that war crimes againt humanity can be pursued no matter
where they occur, under the premise of Universal Jurisdiction.
In a historic effort to hold high-ranking U.S. officials accountable for brutal acts of torture including the widely publicized abuses carried out at
Abu Ghraib, on Tuesday November 30, 2004, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and four Iraqi citizens filed a criminal complaint with the
German Federal Prosecutor’s Office at the Karlsruhe Court, Karlsruhe, Germany. Under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction, suspected war criminals
may be prosecuted irrespective of where they are located.
CCR President Michael Ratner, who traveled to Berlin to file the complaint, said “From Donald Rumsfeld on down, the political and military leaders in
charge of Iraq policy must be investigated and held accountable. It is shameful that the United States of America, a nation that purports to set moral
and legal standards for world, refuses to seriously investigate the role of those at the top of the chain of command in these horrible crimes.”
“Indeed,” Ratner added “the existence of ‘torture memos’ drafted by administration officials and the authorization of techniques that violated
humanitarian law by Secretary Rumsfeld, Lt. General Sanchez and others make clear that responsibility for Abu Ghraib and other violations of law
reaches all the way to the top.”
The U.S. officials charged include Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Former CIA Director George Tenet, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence
Dr. Stephen Cambone, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, Major General Walter Wojdakowski, Major General Geoffrey Miller, Brigadier General Janis L.
Karpinski, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry L. Phillabaum, Colonel Thomas Pappas, and Lieutenant Colonel Stephen L. Jordan.
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While some will undoubtedly laugh at this lawsuit, war crimes are serious business, and in my opinion need to be pursued. Two or more wrongs do not
make a right, and many Americans were shocked to learn that our troops committed these attrocities. While legal action has already been taken here at
home against many of the soldiers that committed these crimes, this suit is pursuing the commanding officers, as well.
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