Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Law Groups Launch second torture prosecution in Germany against U.S. officials


Sunday, November 12, 2006


No state has the right to violate the universal prohibition on torture for any purpose, and all officials who authorize, direct, or execute torture or fail to prevent torture must be prosecuted. All states, including Germany, that are signatory to the Convention against Torture are legally bound—a duty owed to all human kind--to prevent and punish all torture wherever, against whomever and by whoever committed.

Evidence indicates that the torture used at Guantanámo Bay and Abu Ghraib was planned, authorized, and directed by the U.S. President, the Secretary of Defense and other high ranking officials. In the face of overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence of torture coupled with evidence that the U.S. administration will not prosecute, Germany must act to investigate and prosecute those responsible. To do otherwise would make Germany complicit in future torture by U.S. officials and in the denial of remedies for victims.


Lawyers Against the War (LAW) joins in calling on Germany to investigate and prosecute Donald Rumsfeld and other high-ranking U.S. officials for torture. The complaint, to be filed in Berlin on Monday November 13th2006 by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-complainants, names as defendants the architects and directors of the widespread, well reported system of torture used in prisons outside the U.S. against non-U.S. citizens; torture that has continued unabated and unpunished for almost five years and has resulted in many deaths.

In November 2004, LAW joined CCR, The Republican Attorneys and Lawyers Association (RAV) and The International Federation for Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) in filing a similar criminal complaint in Germany. The German prosecutor dismissed the 2004 complaint on the basis of no ‘indications’ that the U.S. would not prosecute the U.S. officials named by that complaint. LAW again joins in bringing the November 2006 complaint based on new evidence that the U.S. will not prosecute high ranking officials.

The extensive brief filed in support of the November 2004 complaint gave Germany notice of the crimes and the involvement of the alleged perpetrators. The November 2006 brief now puts before the German prosecutor incontrovertible evidence that systematic torture by U.S. officials continues and that the U.S. administration will not authorize the prosecution of those in command.

The named defendants in the November 2006 complaint are:

· · former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld,

· · former CIA Director George Tenet,

· · Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Dr. Stephen Cambone,

· · Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez,

· · Major General Walter Wojdakoski,

· · Major General Geoffrey Miller,

· · Colonel Thomas Pappas,

· · former chief White House counsel (and current U.S. Attorney General) Alberto R. Gonzales,

· · former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee,

· · former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo,

· · General Counsel of the Department of Defense William James Haynes II,

· · Vice-Presidential Chief Counsel David S. Addington,

Co-plaintiffs in the 2006 request for investigation and prosecution by Germany are: CCR, RAV, FIDH, LAW, The International Peace Bureau, The National Lawyer’ Guild, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, European Democratic Lawyers, European Democratic Jurists, The Palestinian Center for Human Rights and Veterans for Peace.


LAW laid criminal charges against George W. Bush in Canada for aiding, abetting and counselling torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanámo Bay. These charges, laid in November 2004 under Criminal Code provisions enacted when Canada ratified the Convention against Torture, were rejected in September 2006 by the B.C. Court of Appeal on the grounds that the Attorney General of Canada had not consented to the prosecution. The charges were not rejected on the basis that the torture alleged had not occurred or that George W. Bush was not responsible.

LAW is a committee of jurists and others from fourteen countries who oppose war, promote adherence to international law and oppose impunity for violators.


Gail Davidson, LAW Chair

+1 738 0338

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