Torture: Berlin Stuns World. G W Bush, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, Other Face Hastened Legal Action
George W. Bush’s CIA head, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others have had criminal complaints filed against them in Germany on Wednesday. The Federal Prosecutor must not wait until former CIA boss Tenet, former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and others are on German soil to begin a legal investigation is the decision made Wednesday by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
Torture Architects Face European Legal Action
The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin has today lodged criminal complaints against former CIA head George Tenet, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other members of the administration of former US President George W. Bush. The ECCHR is accusing Tenet, Rumsfeld and a series of other persons of the war crime of torture under paragraph 8 section 1(3) of the German Code of Crimes against International Law (Völkerstrafgesetzbuch).
The constituent elements of the crime of torture have been established again in the recent case by the US Senate in its report on CIA interrogation methods.
“The architects of the torture system – politicians, officials, secret service agents, lawyers and senior army officials – should be brought before the courts,” says ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck, who is appearing today before the German Parliamentary Committee on legal affairs. “By investigating members of the Bush administration, Germany can help to ensure that those responsible for abduction, abuse and illegal detention do not go unpunished.”
The US Senate report devotes one section explicitly to the German citizen Khaled El Masri abducted by CIA agents in 2004 due to a case of mistaken identity and was tortured in a secret detention center in Afghanistan. The criminal complaint details the US Senate report’s finding that once the unlawful error was discovered, the former CIA director refused to take further steps against those responsible.
ECCHR calls on Federal Prosecutor Harald Range to open investigations into the actions of Tenet, Rumsfeld and other perpetrators and to set up a monitoring process as soon as possible. This would allow the German authorities to act immediately in the event that one of the suspects enters European soil and not have to wait until such point before beginning the complex investigations and legal deliberations.
With the US Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Kaleck had previously submitted criminal complaints against Tenet and Rumsfeld in Germany in 2004 and 2006 and against Bush in Switzerland in 2011. ECCHR is also involved in legal proceedings in Spain and France concerning Guantánamo.
The present ECCHR criminal complaint is supported by former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak, the CCR in New York along with its President Emeritus Michael Ratner and its Vice President Peter Weiss, winner of the Martin Ennals Awards 2014 Alejandra Ancheita, Professor for International and Public Law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels Annemie Schaus, Professor for Criminal Law at University of Hamburg Florian Jeßberger and Berlin attorney Dieter Hummel.
Recently, torture was explained by hailed human rights whistleblower Edward Snowden, unlike Fox News that has downplayed the war crime, instead pushing it as “awesome”.