Rights Group Files Torture Complaint Against Rumsfeld in Paris

The Center for Constitutional Rights and other human rights groups filed a complaint in Paris against Donald Rumsfeld last night alleging he ordered and authorized torture.

Rumsfeld is in Paris to give a talk on foreign policy.

“The filing of this French case against Rumsfeld demonstrates that we will not rest until those U.S. officials involved in the torture program are brought to justice. Rumsfeld must understand that he has no place to hide. A torturer is an enemy of all humankind,” said CCR President Michael Ratner.

“France is under the obligation to investigate and prosecute Rumsfeld’s accountability for crimes of torture in Guantanamo and Iraq. France has no choice but to open an investigation if an alleged torturer is on its territory. I hope that the fight against impunity will not be sacrificed in the name of politics. We call on France to refuse to be a safe haven for criminals.” said FIDH President Souhayr Belhassen.


CCR says France has an obligation under the Convention Against Torture to prosecute individuals if they are present on French territory.

As to the complaint,

The criminal complaint states that because of the failure of authorities in the United States and Iraq to launch any independent investigation into the responsibility of Rumsfeld and other high-level U.S. officials for torture despite a documented paper trail and government memos implicating them in direct as well as command responsibility for torture – and because the U.S. has refused to join the International Criminal Court – it is the legal obligation of states such as France to take up the case.

In this case, charges are brought under the 1984 Convention against Torture, ratified by both the United States and France, which has been used in France in previous torture cases.

In support of the complaint, CCR submitted written testimony of Former U.S. Army Brigadier General(and former Abu Ghraib commander) Janis Karpinski,

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    Hmmm... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Packratt on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 02:39:48 PM EST
    Wonder if I can file a complaint im Paris for being tortured in the King County Jail? I certainly can't seem to do anything about it in America.

    you know... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Jen M on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 03:42:09 PM EST
    It can't hurt to ask, can it? You'd have to start at the local consulate, preferably via lawyer.

    Well... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Packratt on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 07:18:12 PM EST
    Don't think I haven't tried, they seem pretty scared of the police around here. The lawyers around here won't even talk to me and won't tell me why.

    I thought, you know, being that I'm an innocent person (prosecutor dropped charges and admitted to my lawyer that they figured out I was innocent) without a record of any sort and who has witnesses who will back his claims of being mistreated would have had some credibility.

    Aparently not in Seattle, Wa. USA.

    Know any French lawyers? Or, since my mother was originally from Greece, think I could try the Greek consulate?


    got the paperwork? (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jen M on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 08:23:20 AM EST
    I don't know about greece but in many countries thats all you need for citizenship: one parent. Don't know what that does to your american citizenships but my sibs all have double or even triple chitizenships.

    This is tooooo sweet!!!! (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Michael Gass on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 04:04:47 PM EST
    Now we just have to wait and see how far it goes.

    But sweet... tooo sweet...

    Nowhere (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by eric on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 04:55:51 PM EST
    These always go nowhere because nobody has the guts to follow through.  The US is just too scary and international politics trump international law.

    So far..... (1.00 / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 05:03:38 PM EST
    The pendulum seems to be swinging though. Pendulums do that.

    I said it... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Michael Gass on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 05:06:02 PM EST
    When will the world stand up against us just as it stood up against Hitler.  Well, looks like they are starting to...

    Eh (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by manys on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 05:28:12 PM EST
    It's not an either/or situation. What may happen though could be similar to Kissinger's situation, where he cannot travel certain places due to war crimes issues from the Vietnam War.

    we bomb Iran and (none / 0) (#10)
    by Michael Gass on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 07:24:58 PM EST
    you might want to rethink that...

    History repeating itself (none / 0) (#11)
    by manys on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 11:19:46 PM EST
    Is that what happened with Cambodia?

    I hope so. (1.00 / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 05:24:25 PM EST
    Scribe put it the best way I ever saw:
    those who stand with Bush and Cheney, or oppose removing them, will do so at the peril of being on the wrong side of history.
    ...in a century or two, torture, degradation and authoritarianism may, because of Bush, Cheney and their henchmen, be as normal and accepted as breathing, eating and drinking.  After all, in ancient Rome, not only were there multitudes of slaves, but a slave could not testify without having been tortured first.  And everyone thought that normal.

    The paradigm for the future - for the descendents of those who may have kids today - is what the choices made today will decide.  And that is why the precedent we set today is eternal.  Once that choice is made, or ducked, it's done and the alternative path now available, is gone and can't be gotten back.


    Fugitive From Justice Flees (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by squeaky on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 05:02:00 PM EST
    Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France today fearing arrest over charges of "ordering and authorizing" torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military's detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.

    US embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush's "war on terror" for six years.

    Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.


    it's not going anywhere. (none / 0) (#12)
    by cpinva on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 02:54:14 AM EST
    of course, they know that. they also know that they'll get some free publicity out of it.

    arrest leaders (none / 0) (#14)
    by diogenes on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 10:50:09 PM EST
    As long as the CCR files complaints against other people who allegedly had torture committed under their regimes (leaders of Cuba, Sudan, Burma, North Korea, China, etc) and France arrests them all if they arrive on French soil, then I'd happily jettison Rumsfeld along with them.

    Maybe they do. (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by Edger on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 08:02:20 AM EST
    Why don't you look it up and find out, so you can move forward.

    It must be torture to be so frozen in indecision.

    And if they don't, since they are an American organization, you'll have an excuse to happily excuse Rumsfeld.

    You might even be able to find someone stupid enough to buy the excuse, too.