He's Out, But Some Still Want Rumsfeld to Face War Crimes Charges

Though he has resigned as Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld is expected to be accused of war crimes in a lawsuit to be filed next week in Germany.

The Center for Constitutional Rights will file the suit on behalf of a group of Iraqi detainees as well as the so-called 20th hijacker, who is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay.

"The former secretary actually authorized a series of interrogation techniques," said Michael Ratner, President of CCR. "They included the use of dogs, stripping, hooding, stressed positions, chaining to the floor, sexual humiliation and those types of activities."


Those techniques, he says, amount to torture and violate the Geneva Conventions. Ratner will be traveling to Berlin next week and plans to file the suit on Tuesday.

The suit is being brought in Germany because a "universal jurisdiction" law there allows German courts to claim jurisdiction over war crimes even if they were committed outside that country's borders.

CCR filed a similar lawsuit in Germany two years ago. That suit charged that Rumsfeld, former CIA Director George Tenet and other senior officials were responsible for the torturing of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. The suit was dismissed, however, because German prosecutors said the case had no connection to German citizens nor to events that took place in Germany.

Department of Defense officials at the time refused to comment on the allegations in the suit, and Rumsfeld himself has called such universal jurisdiction lawsuits "absurd" and "politicized."

Despite the previous dismissals and Rumsfeld's resignation, Ratner says he still thinks the former secretary needs to be held accountable for what Ratner calls "war crimes," and he also wants to put the U.S. interrogation policy on trial.

"I think it's important not just for the personal accountability of Rumsfeld but really to put the United States back into what I consider the letter of law," he said.

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