Peter Rothberg / The Nation – 2004-12-12 20:24:43
(December 12, 2004) — In a historic effort to hold US officials accountable for acts of torture, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and four Iraqi citizens recently filed a criminal complaint with the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office at the Karlsruhe Court in Karlsruhe, Germany against high ranking United States officials over the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere in Iraq. The four Iraqis all allege abuse at the hands of US troops, including severe beatings, sleep and food deprivation, hooding and sexual abuse.
The German court agreed to hear the case under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction, which allows suspected war criminals to be prosecuted irrespective of where they are located. “German law in this area is leading the world,” Peter Weiss, vice president of the New York-based CCR, a human rights group, said in an interview with the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. “We file these cases here because there is simply no other place to go,” he added. “It is clear that the US government is not willing to open an investigation into these allegations against these officials.”
The German Prosecutor has wide discretion in deciding how far to go with an investigation. CCR asks supporters of these legal proceedings to let the prosecutor’s office know that people around the world support this effort. Click here to add your voice to the international campaign.
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The Center for Constitutional Rights Lawsuit
(December 10, 2004) — The Center for Constitutional Rights and four Iraqis who were tortured in U.S. custody have filed a complaint with the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office against high-ranking United States civilian and military commanders over the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere in Iraq.
We are asking the German prosecutor to launch an investigation: since the U.S. government is unwilling to open an independent investigation into the responsibility of these officials for war crimes, and since the U.S. has refused to join the International Criminal Court, CCR and the Iraqi victims have brought this complaint in Germany as a court of last resort. Several of the defendants are stationed in Germany.
Defendants include Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, former CIA Director George Tenet, Lt. General Ricardo S. Sanchez, Major-General Walter Wojdakowski, Brig.-General Janis Karpinski, Lt.-Colonel Jerry L. Phillabaum, Colonel Thomas M. Pappas, Lt.-Colonel Stephen L. Jordan, Major-General Geoffrey Miller, and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone.
German law allows German courts to prosecute for killing, torture, cruel and inhumane treatment, forcible transfers and sexual coercion such as occurred at Abu Ghraib. The world has seen the photographs and read the leaked “torture memos” – we are doing what is necessary when other systems of justice have failed and seeking to hold officials up the chain of command responsible for the shameful abuses that occurred.
Please join our effort! The German Prosecutor has discretion to decide whether to initiate an investigation. It is critical that he hear from you so he knows that people around the world support this effort.
The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) at www.globalresearch.ca. The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Global Research.
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