Monday, November 13, 2006

Rumsfeld and Others to be Tried for War Crimes.

Only one week after the midterm elections and the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, the Center for Constitutional Rights is filing a request in Germany for investigation and prosecution of at least twelve high-ranking officials in the Bush Administration who allegedly ordered or failed to prevent torture, including Rumsfeld, George Tenet, and Al Gonzales. Eleven of the plaintiffs were held at Abu Ghraib, and one other at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A similar complaint was filed in 2004 but was dropped after pressure by the United States. This new complaint reportedly has new evidence and comes on the heels of the Military Commissions Act and the resignation of Rumsfeld, which apparently removed his immunity from war crimes prosecution. A brief, easy-to-read PDF file can be found on the linked site which details the new complaint.
How far do you think the case will go? Should the US put pressure on Germany to drop the case, and if they do, is that tantamount to admission of guilt? We've talked about Pinochet's punishment being 'too little, too late,' so isn't this case a good thing? I say let the trial commence. If these men are guilty, they should pay. Why should Americans be above the international laws and conventions to which they have agreed?


jimbo said...

I think if there is new evidence showing the fact that any high ranking offical in the United States did in fact look away when people where being tourtured, then they should be prosicuted just like any other person. The United States should not be above international law. I dont know if these accusations will fallow through but i do think that if thye do it will give international law a bust in legitmacy because if the United States is held resposible, then it shows we are not above the law, which is a view by many international circles.

Lindsey said...

I completely agree. It is a message that I would personally like to send to the world: that I, as an American, did not and do not support members' of the Bush Administrations actions against prisoners as well as the Military Commissions Act.

hewhowould said...

If this trial does go through I believe that more countries from the UN will rally behind Germany and thus give the UN and other countries courage to point out more war crimes. Yet this may also be a call for war. Lets just say that the trial does take place and the US or Bush just comes out and says we do not recognize these international courts. What’s going to happen then? Will someone attempt to invade us and force a new government? But if Rumsfeld is convicted man will that set a precedent for up coming US officials and they will be more likely to question or veto any policy that looks like a war crime. But if the US allows the trials to commence I think it would be a massive PR boost for international relations and establishing another check on US politicians.

Ozymandias said...

It's my understanding that Rumsfeld is being sued, not charged. If he chooses not to show up, there will be a warrant for his arrest in Germany; due to EU extradition agreements, he won't be able to go anywhere in the EU.

This really shows us what happens when ethics and politics collide. The U.S. is not going to hand Rumsfeld over; we may even attempt to punish Europe for this (which is certainly within our power). I agree with everyone when I say that in a perfect world, Rumsfeld would go to trial, the world would watch and the US would not use its power to influence what's going on. To me, the more interesting question is this: is it right for Germany to do this? They're risking economic sanctions, which will hurt their people, in order to make this almost-certainly-symbolic gesture. States have to make these kinds of trade-offs all the time, but it's generally about tangible things (such as war). It seems that Germany is taking a big risk for little benefit.

thisisnotathens said...

There is no way that this will end in Rumsfeld or any other U.S. officials being tried by an foreign or international war crimes tribunal. I mean, isn't this the whole reason the United States did not officially join the International Criminal Court. The argument that Bush had made to keep us out of the ICC was because it was his belief that the United States would be targeted for political reasons, and that Americans on trial would be pawns in international politics. I do not fully subscribe to this argument, but I can see some of the reasoning behind it. That is not to say that I don't think that a trial should happen, but I am extremely doubtful that America will allow Rumsfeld or anyone else to be tried internationally. I also doubt that there will be much support for it in the States. Although some liberal democrats may call for the trial, I think that the Democratic party as a whole will decide against it because it will make them look weak to the American populace. If any trial happens, it would have to be held here in America and run by Americans. What is much more likely is a Congress led investigation into the performance of Rumsfeld, and if any incriminating evidence does surface, then and only then would we see him on trial.

Should Rumsfeld go on trial? Yes! Will he? No.