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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lawyers taking Rumsfeld war crimes case to Spain after German rejection
Joshua Pantesco at 10:22 AM ET

[JURIST] German lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck [profile] says that he will refile a war crimes complaint [CCR press release] against former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in Spain with the help of Spanish counterparts after the German Federal Prosecutor's office Friday rejected a bid to prosecute the suit in Germany under that country's universal jurisdiction law [text], according to a report published Saturday in Der Spiegel. Federal Prosecutor Monika Harms said [CCR press release] that the case did not have a sufficient connection to Germany to warrant exercise of her legal discretion, noting that the alleged crimes were committed outside of Germany, the defendants do not reside in Germany, they are not currently located in Germany, and it is not anticipated they will soon enter German territory. Spain passed a universal jurisdiction law [text] of its own in 1985, invoking it most famously in the case of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pincohet [PDF backgrounder].

The German complaint [introduction in English, PDF; full complaint text in German, part one and part two, PDF] against Rumsfeld and other top US officials and advisors [CCR list] on behalf of eleven former Abu Ghraib detainees and one Guantanamo detainees alleged that they were responsible for the torture of the 12 plaintiffs and authorized the commission of other war crimes in the US "war on terror." Reuters has more.

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