Eingetragen oder aktualisiert am 26.05.2008
Der Fall Rumsfeld - Offener Brief an die französische Justizministerin
Im Oktober 2007 war im Folter-Fall gegen den ehemaligen US-Verteidigungsminister Donald Rumsfeld Strafanzeige durch mehrere Menschenrechtsorganisationen in Paris eingereicht worden. Die Ermittlungen wurden durch die französische Staatsanwaltschaft unter Berufung auf die Immunität Rumsfelds abgelehnt, obwohl dieser nicht mehr im Amte ist. In einem offenen Brief wird die französische Justizministerin ersucht, die Staatsanwaltschaft zur Einleitung von Ermittlungen anzuweisen. Der offene Brief setzt sich mit der rechtlich nicht haltbaren Begründung der Immunität auseinander. Wir dokumentieren das Schreiben in englischer Sprache.
In the French Rumsfeld torture case, which was filed last October and dismissed, outrageously, on the grounds of immunity, CCR, FIDH, ECCHR, and LDH, all co-plaintiffs, sent today an Open Letter to France’s Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati, (copied to Kouchner, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs) urging her to ask the Public prosecutor to withdraw his decision to dismiss and to ultimately open an investigation. The letter mostly lays out our arguments re. immunity.
Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'Homme (FIDH)
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
Ligue française des droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen (LDH)
Open Letter to the French Minister of Justice in the Rumsfeld Torture Case
Human Rights Groups Say There Is No Immunity for Torture
The Case Against Donald Rumsfeld Must Be Opened
Paris, May 21, 2008 –The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), its member organizations in the United States, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and in France, the « Ligue française des droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen » (LDH), as well as the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), today sent an open letter to France’s Minister of Justice, Madame Rachida Dati. In it, the organizations request that she intervene with the Public Prosecutor of the Paris Appeals Court and ask him to withdraw his decision of February 27, 2008 granting former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld immunity from criminal jurisdiction for acts of torture. The letter was also sent to Mr. Bernard Kouchner, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
On October 25, 2007, the plaintiff organizations filed a complaint before the Paris District Prosecutor against Rumsfeld on the occasion of a private visit in Paris. The complaint alleged that Rumsfeld, in violation of the Convention against Torture, ratified by France and implemented in French legislation, is responsible for having directly and personally crafted and ordered the use of ”harsh” interrogation techniques constituting torture. The complaint, accompanied by several hundred pages of evidence, also alleges that such techniques were implemented under his supervision, notably at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, and that, starting in 2002, Rumsfeld personally managed several torture sessions of terrorist suspects.
The Paris Prosecutor dismissed the complaint and granted Rumsfeld immunity, purportedly basing his decision on an opinion drafted by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The plaintiffs had, without success, contested the dismissal of the complaint before the Public Prosecutor, a higher authority.
The open letter addressed to Justice Minister Dati demonstrates in particular that the prosecutors’ opinion fails to articulate any valid legal justification for the personal immunity of Rumsfeld, a former Secretary of Defense; that it ignores the principle that there is no immunity for international core crimes such as torture; and alleges that by granting immunity to former officials for such crimes, the decision contravenes the very purpose of the French legislation implementing the provisions of the Convention against Torture.
The letter states that in his decision, the Public Prosecutor referred to – and misinterpreted – the International Court of Justice’s 2002 “Yerodia Case,” which recognized the immunity of a Minister of Foreign Affairs and only for his time in office. Yet, Rumsfeld is a former Secretary of Defense, who was on a private visit in France.
When asked to explain how the current position could be reconciled with the Paris Prosecutor’s previous request for the extradition of former President Augusto Pinochet, the Public Prosecutor replied, incredibly, that the allegation of torture against Rumsfeld could not be "dissociated from his official function," in contrast to the case for Pinochet, who was accused of serious crimes like murder and kidnapping.
But as the signatories state in the letter, under French and international law, “it is well-established that personal immunity of former officials only extends to ‘official acts’ accomplished while in office, and not to international crimes, which cannot be seriously considered official acts.”
The letter to Madame Rachida Dati further states that this unsupported extension of immunity “could confer permanent impunity from prosecution for international crimes not only to Heads of State and Foreign Ministers, but, by extension, to all government ministers both during and after their term of office.”
It is “to avoid an application ‘à la carte’ of the fight against impunity” that the plaintiffs organizations have chosen now to refer the matter to France’s Minister of Justice.
The Open Letter is available under http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/open-letter-submitted-french-minis
For more documents related to the Rumsfeld cases in France and Germany, go to http://ccrjustice.org/case-against-rumsfeld.