7.11.06

Bush War Criminals, Beware

War Criminals, Beware:

On November 14 a group of lawyers and other experts will come before the German federal prosecutor and ask him to open a criminal investigation targeting Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales and other key Bush Administration figures for war crimes. The recent passage of the Military Commissions Act provides a central argument for the legal action, under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction: It demonstrates the intent of the Bush Administration to immunize itself legally from prosecution in the United States, even for the most serious crimes.

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An earlier case against Rumsfeld was brought two years ago in Germany by CCR on behalf of four Iraqi victims of Abu Ghraib, drawing largely on documents and photos that revealed abuse at the prison. As the case was being considered, a security conference loomed in Munich. Rumsfeld, who could have been served papers or even arrested, refused to attend unless the case was dismissed. It was dismissed February 10; Rumsfeld flew to Germany the next day.

The reason the prosecutor gave for the dismissal was that there was "no reason to believe that the accused would not be prosecuted in the United States"--notwithstanding powerful evidence that the officials who controlled prosecution were themselves part of the conspiracy to commit war crimes. The new complaint will be based on the failure of US authorities to investigate and prosecute high-level officials.

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