At three pages and with twenty-seven appendixes, the French complaint filed on Thursday by four human rights organizations against Donald Rumsfeld is detailed and damning. The former American Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 is accused of torture, in particular with respect to the prisoners of Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
This is the fifth complaint against the man considered one of the architects of the Iraq War. Two criminal complaints were dismissed in Germany (the second, however, will be appealed next week) and two more have been filed, one in Argentina and one in Sweden.
But for the first time, Donald Rumsfeld has been legally assaulted while in the country in which the complaint was filed. Arriving in Paris on Thursday, he gave a lecture on Friday morning, without specifying the duration of his stay. Owing to the universal jurisdiction defined under the 1984 United Nations Convention Against Torture and enshrined in French law ten years later, his presence here obliges France to act unless she rejects the complaint. [Emphasis added]
Jus some Gallic frivolity? Hardly. Apparently the French Court is willing to act on the complaint.
At the Court of First Instance in Paris, no more information was given out than necessary. Laurence Abgrall, the assistant prosecutor of France, told Rue89 that "the complaint should not run up against any major difficulties," but before being heard, "we're checking to make sure we have jurisdiction."
"The issue is whether or not Donald Rumsfeld has immunity. We are currently checking to see if he's still in France. But I can't tell you anything more about it." [Emphasis added]
That makes four countries (so far) where travel might be unwise for any member of the current administration: France, Germany, Sweden, and Argentina. None of the four are members of the Axis of Evil (so far), and none of them have been threatened with a military attack (yet).
It also is a pretty good indicator that at least some in the world agree that members of the current administration have committed crimes as defined by international law. I just wish that more members of the 100th Congress felt that way.
Labels: War Crimes