Friday, October 26, 2007

Human Rights Groups Call for Rumsfeld's Detention in France

Filing a complaint in a French court which alleges the former US Secretary of Defense authorized torture at U.S.-run detention centers in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, several US-based and international human rights groups called on French authorities today to detain Donald Rumsfeld during his visit to that country.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) along with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), and the French League for Human Rights (LDH) filed the complaint with the Paris prosecutor's office before the “Court of First Instance.”

According to the press release of the FIDH:

“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.

“We want to combat impunity and therefore demand a judicial investigation and a criminal prosecution wherever there is jurisdiction over the torture incidents,” said ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck.

"The impunity of a criminal government is always intolerable. That the US is the hyperpower of the moment and especially that it is a democracy makes the impunity of Donald Rumsfield even more unbearable than that of an Hissène Habré or a Radovan Karadzic" announced Jean-Pierre Dubois, LDH President.

"We know that we can't get him into prison right now, but it would be great to make sure that he couldn't safely leave the U.S. anymore," Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, told the media.

The CCR and FIDH have already filed suits in Germany in 2004 and 2006 in a bid to have Rumsfeld tried for rights abuses.

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