Germany’s federal prosecutors have rejected a lawsuit urging them to open a war crimes investigation against former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The suit, filed in November, urged the investigation of Rumsfeld and 13 other US officials under a German law that allows the prosecution of war crimes regardless of where they were committed. It alleged that Rumsfeld personally ordered and condoned torture.
The suit was brought by New York’s Centre for Constitutional Rights on behalf of 12 alleged torture victims – 11 Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib and a Saudi being held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
German prosecutors had already declined to investigate a more limited lawsuit in 2005, arguing that it was up to the US to hold any inquiry and that there were no indications US authorities or courts would refrain from doing so.
Prosecutors cited the same reasons for rejecting the second attempt, saying additionally that Germany was under no obligation to lead an investigation of alleged crimes committed abroad by people who were neither German nor intend to live in Germany.