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Rights groups file war crimes suit against Rumsfeld in France

[JURIST] European and US-based rights groups filed a lawsuit [press release] against former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld [official profile] with the Paris prosecutor Friday coincident with Rumsfeld's arrival in Paris to deliver a speech sponsored by Foreign Policy magazine. In their complaint [PDF text; additional materials] the French-based International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH), the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), and the French League for Human Rights (LDH) [advocacy websites] allege that Rumsfeld authorized harsh interrogation tactics that amount to torture. The rights groups insist that France is obligated to prosecute Rumsfeld since authorities in the US and Iraq have failed to launch an independent investigation into his responsibility for the alleged torture. They have also called on French officials to arrest Rumsfeld while in Paris, saying it had authority to detain him under the Convention Against Torture [text].

The FIDH and CCR have already filed two similar suits [JURIST report] against Rumsfeld in Germany seeking accountability for acts of torture allegedly committed at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and in Afghanistan [JURIST news archives]. In April, the office of the German Federal Prosecutor [official website, in German] declined to investigate the latest war crimes claim [ASIL backgrounder; PDF introduction, in English] against Rumsfeld and other high-ranking US officials. The German lawyers subsequently said they would take their case to Spain [JURIST report]. Two other complaints were filed against Rumsfeld in Argentina in 2005 and Sweden in 2007. Reuters has more.

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