Germans Attack the United States
November 17, 2006: Lawfare has now gone international, with a lawsuit against American officials, filed in Germany, by the Center for Constitutional Rights. The suit, targeting Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former CIA Director George Tenet, is aimed at getting the German government to investigate alleged war crimes that have, to date, been shown to have little basis in reality. Germany was selected as a venue for this lawsuit due to the fact that it claims universal jurisdiction over war crimes. This means that any war crime committed by anyone anywhere on the globe can be tried in a German court. And anyone can bring a suit in a court in the Western world.
This wasfrom Military news, but TIME brings up a different aspect of story.
"The utter and complete failure of U.S. authorities to take any action to investigate high-level involvement in the torture program could not be clearer," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a U.S.-based non-profit helping to bring the legal action in Germany. He also notes that the Military Commissions Act, a law passed by Congress earlier this year, effectively blocks prosecution in the U.S. of those involved in detention and interrogation abuses of foreigners held abroad in American custody going to back to Sept. 11, 2001. As a result, Ratner contends, the legal arguments underlying the German prosecutor's previous inaction no longer hold up.
Whatever the legal merits of the case, it is the latest example of efforts in Western Europe by critics of U.S. tactics in the war on terror to call those involved to account in court. In Germany, investigations are under way in parliament concerning cooperation between the CIA and German intelligence on rendition — the kidnapping of suspected terrorists and their removal to third countries for interrogation. Other legal inquiries involving rendition are under way in both Italy and Spain.
U.S. officials have long feared that legal proceedings against "war criminals" could be used to settle political scores. In 1998, for example, former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet — whose military coup was supported by the Nixon administration — was arrested in the U.K. and held for 16 months in an extradition battle led by a Spanish magistrate seeking to charge him with war crimes. He was ultimately released and returned to Chile. More recently, a Belgian court tried to bring charges against then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for alleged crimes against Palestinians.
For its part, the Bush Administration has rejected adherence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on grounds that it could be used to unjustly prosecute U.S. officials. The ICC is the first permanent tribunal established to prosecute war crimes, genocide and other crimes against humanity.Friday, Nov. 10, 2006
Here is Jurist's opinion.
Here is reactions form American blog