Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I guess Rumsfeld won't be going to Europe again

A US human rights group anf five Iraqi victims of torture have laid charges against US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, former CIA director George Tenet, and other US officials alleging command responsibility for the abuses at Abu Ghraib - in Germany. Germany claims universal jurisdiction over war crimes under its Code of Crimes Against International Law. Under the law, Germany's federal prosecutor will decide whether the case can proceed, and is likely to come under intense US pressure to drop it.

As with the case against Bush in Chile, I don't think this has a shit show of succeeding, but I think it is a good idea all the same. It sends a message that someone at least is taking human rights and international law seriously, and it puts Bush and his coterie of war criminals on notice that they will be pursued where-ever they go, and that every legal avenue will be used in an effort to hold them accountable for their crimes. Even if they escape formal charges, the threat of one day being dragged into court and made to answer for their crimes (and the consequent need to avoid some jurisdictions for fear of prosecution) should cause them some discomfort and hopefully give them a few sleepless nights.