A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

California city council endorses Rumsfeld war crimes prosecution

[JURIST] The Berkeley, California city council [official website] voted Tuesday to support the criminal complaint [introduction in English, PDF; full complaint text in German, part one and part two, PDF] filed in Germany against former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top US officials and advisers [CCR list] for authorizing the commission of war crimes in the US "war on terror." The council's Peace and Justice Commission originally submitted a proposal [text, PDF] to join the complaint as co-plaintiffs, but members of the traditionally-liberal council voted only to endorse the complaint, the first time any US local jurisdiction has taken such a stand on the controversial case.

The council resolution [CCR press release] reads:

[T]he Council of the City of Berkeley endorses the case of Rumsfeld et al. . . .

[T]he Council of the City of Berkeley supports all efforts throughout the world to hold Donald Rumsfeld and other United States officials who have prosecuted the War on Terror in violation of any applicable law to be held both civilly and criminally accountable for their actions before any tribunal with jurisdiction over the matter, whether such legal proceedings are pursued in this country or abroad.
The complaint, filed [JURIST report] in November 2006 on behalf of eleven former Abu Ghraib detainees and one Guantanamo detainee all claiming to have been victims of US torture, asks the German Federal Prosecutor [official website] to investigate and ultimately prosecute Rumsfeld and the other officials. It invokes Germany's universal jurisdiction [AI backgrounder] law, which allows the prosecution of war crimes no matter where they were carried out. The San Francisco Chronicle has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.