Case to charge Donald Rumsfeld with War Crimes Goes Forward by Mitch E. Perry

11/15/06

A U.S. based legal group representing 11 prisoners held at Guatanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib have filed a criminal complaint with a prosecutor in Germany against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former CIA Director George Tenant, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and others with war crimes and torture.

German prosecutors have yet to decide whether to pursue the case. An earlier request for a similar case in 2004 was ultimately dropped. Lawyers say that was in part because U.S. officials had said at that time they were investigating abuses at Abu Grhaib, ,and therefore German authorities had deferred to the military. And there was political pressure applied by Donald Rumsfeld as well.

But Michael Rattner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said he believes the case has a much better chance of success now. (roll tape#1 o.q.� no longer a valid reason�)

And Rattner says the President’s revelations admitting to secret prisons for certain detainees also leaves Bush Administration officials legally vulnerable (roll tape#2 o.q.� particular the war crimes statute�)

The new complaint adds several defendants who were not named in 2004, including UC Berkeley law Professor John Yoo and Jay Bybee, a federal appeals court judge in San Francisco.

The center accuses Yoo and Bybee of furthering torture by writing a 2002 Justice Department memo that defined torturous practices narrowly and implicitly approved other painful practices. The Bush administration later repudiated the memo.

Another new element is the participation of former Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, commander of Abu Ghraib in 2003-2004, …Karpinski has submitted testimony supporting today's filing that said responsibility for interrogation abuses went "all the way to the top of the chain of command,'' including Rumsfeld.

She said Rumsfeld’s resignation last week creates a bigger spotlight on their case, but says the timing is purely coincidental (roll tape#3 o.q.� secret prisons�)

The Center for Constitutional Rights is accusing Rumsfeld of complicity in interrogation methods such as beatings, the use of extreme temperatures and loud noise, threats with dogs, sleep deprivation, forcible stripping and sexual humiliation.

Gitiani Gutierrez is defending a detained Saudi national, Mohamad al-Qahtani, who was held at Guatanamo. She described what happened to her client (roll tape#4 o.q.�by a female�) Gutierrez says that last term is shorthand for female interrogators sexually molesting her client.

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