From Donald Rumsfeld on down, the political and military leaders in charge of ordering, allowing and implementing abusive interrogation techniques in the context of the “War on Terror” since September 11, 2001, must be investigated and held accountable. The complaint alleges that American military and civilian high-ranking officials named as defendants in the case have committed war crimes against detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the U.S.-controlled Guantánamo Bay prison camp.
The complaint alleges that the defendants “ordered” war crimes, “aided or abetted” war crimes, or “failed, as civilian superiors or military commanders, to prevent their commission by subordinates, or to punish their subordinates,” actions that are explicitly criminalized by German law. The U.S. administration has treated hundreds if not thousands of detainees in a coercive manner, in accordance with “harsh interrogation techniques” ordered by Secretary Rumsfeld himself that legally constitute torture and/or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in blatant violation of the provisions of the 1949
Geneva Conventions, the 1984 Convention Against Torture and the 1977 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to all of which the United States is a party. Under international humanitarian treaty and customary law, and as re-stated in German law, these acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment constitute war crimes.
I don't seriously expect that Rumsfeld or any other member of this grisly gang will ever find themselves on trial for crimes against humanity or war crimes. I do expect they may find it advisable to drop any travel plans to a nation that recognises universal jurisdiction to punish such crimes. Strangely enough, the recent US legislation to give legal cover to torture may exacerbate the position of potential defendants. Similar immunity laws enacted by the Chilean junta were cited as reason for the House of Lords to grant extradition in the Pinochet case in