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French prosecutor rejects war crimes lawsuit against Rumsfeld

[JURIST] French prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin has dismissed a war crimes claim against former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld [official profile] alleging that Rumsfeld authorized US personnel to torture prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, according to a lawyer for the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) [advocacy website] on Friday. The complaint [PDF text; additional materials] was filed [JURIST report] in October on behalf of the 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]. A letter [PDF text] by Morin obtained by AP indicates that the French Foreign Ministry advised him to reject the suit because Rumsfeld is covered by immunity given to government officials during their service.

The rejection follows the path of other recent war crimes cases against Rumsfeld. In March of this year, a federal judge for the District of Columbia dismissed an ACLU complaint [JURIST report] against Rumsfeld in connection with alleged torture and abuse of detainees. The FIDH and CCR previously filed two similar suits [JURIST report] against Rumsfeld in Germany seeking accountability for acts of torture. 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]. Other complaints were filed against Rumsfeld in Argentina in 2005 and Sweden in 2007. AP has more.

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