Rumsfeld: Joins Kissinger as a wanted man
Rue 89, France
While in Paris, Rumsfeld
Is Charged with
"Legally speaking, few complaints
are as irrefutable as this one. Then there is the political aspect: this
touches on the Bush Administration ... But there should be impunity for no
-- Patrick Baudoin, French Lawyer Who Filed the Complaint
By Julien Martin
Translated by Andrew Levine
October 26, 2007
- Rue89 - Original Article (French)
At three pages and with twenty-seven
appendixes, the French complaint filed on Thursday by four human rights
organizations against Donald Rumsfeld is detailed and
damning. The former American Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 is accused
of torture, in particular with respect to the prisoners of Abu Ghraib in Iraq
and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
This is the fifth complaint
against the man considered one of the architects of the Iraq War. Two criminal
complaints were dismissed in Germany (the second, however, will be appealed
next week) and two more have been filed, one in Argentina and one in Sweden.
But for the first time,
Donald Rumsfeld has been charged while in the country in which the complaint was filed.
Arriving in Paris on Thursday, he gave a lecture on Friday morning without
specifying the duration of his stay. Owing to the universal jurisdiction
defined under the 1984 United Nations Convention Against
Torture and enshrined in French law ten years later, his presence here forces
France to act unless the country rejects the complaint.
In the French complaint,
which Rue89 has obtained a copy of, the International Federation for Human
Rights Leagues, the French League for the Defense of Human and Civil Rights,
the Center for Constitutional Rights [of New York] and the European Center for
Constitutional and Human Rights intend, "to take all preliminary measures
to ensure that this person is detained or else kept on French territory."
Testimony from former
detainees and American troops fills out the complaint, which lists the alleged
interrogation methods: two-day-long periods of sleep deprivation, 20-hour
interrogations, sexual humiliation, and religion-related threats, among others.
Most importantly, memos
written by Donald Rumsfeld himself are included as
appendixes. Some quotes mix the serious nature of the proposal with cynicism:
"I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours [for
the lawyer who filed the complaint, organized a press conference in Paris on
Friday to publicize his legal action. A sign that media pressure is stronger
than political pressure:
"Legally speaking, few
complaints are as irrefutable as this one. Then there is the political aspect: this
touches on the Bush administration ... But there should be impunity for no
At the Court of First
Instance in Paris, no more information was given out than necessary. Laurence Abgrall, the assistant prosecutor of France, told Rue89
that "the complaint should not run up against any major
difficulties," but before being heard, "we're checking to make sure
we have jurisdiction."
"The issue is whether or
not Donald Rumsfeld has immunity. We are currently
checking to see if he's still in France. But I can't tell you anything more
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