Friday, November 10, 2006

"Universal jurisdiction"?

This is one of the biggest reasons that I reject the left's notion of "international law" and the need to be a part of this phoney kangaroo International Criminal Court. From Time:
Just days after his resignation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The plaintiffs in the case include 11 Iraqis who were prisoners at Abu Ghraib, as well as Mohammad al-Qahtani, a Saudi held at Guantanamo, whom the U.S. has identified as the so-called "20th hijacker" and a would-be participant in the 9/11 hijackings. As TIME first reported in June 2005, Qahtani underwent a "special interrogation plan," personally approved by Rumsfeld, which the U.S. says produced valuable intelligence. But to obtain it, according to the log of his interrogation and government reports, Qahtani was subjected to forced nudity, sexual humiliation, religious humiliation, prolonged stress positions, sleep deprivation and other controversial interrogation techniques.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that one of the witnesses who will testify on their behalf is former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the one-time commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq. Karpinski — who the lawyers say will be in Germany next week to publicly address her accusations in the case — has issued a written statement to accompany the legal filing, which says, in part: "It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ."

A spokesperson for the Pentagon told TIME there would be no comment since the case has not yet been filed.

Along with Rumsfeld, Gonzales and Tenet, the other defendants in the case are Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone; former assistant attorney general Jay Bybee; former deputy assisant attorney general John Yoo; General Counsel for the Department of Defense William James Haynes II; and David S. Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. Senior military officers named in the filing are General Ricardo Sanchez, the former top Army official in Iraq; Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of Guantanamo; senior Iraq commander, Major General Walter Wojdakowski; and Col. Thomas Pappas, the one-time head of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib.

Germany was chosen for the court filing because German law provides "universal jurisdiction" allowing for the prosecution of war crimes and related offenses that take place anywhere in the world. Indeed, a similar, but narrower, legal action was brought in Germany in 2004, which also sought the prosecution of Rumsfeld. The case provoked an angry response from Pentagon, and Rumsfeld himself was reportedly upset. Rumsfeld's spokesman at the time, Lawrence DiRita, called the case a "a big, big problem." U.S. officials made clear the case could adversely impact U.S.-Germany relations, and Rumsfeld indicated he would not attend a major security conference in Munich, where he was scheduled to be the keynote speaker, unless Germany disposed of the case. The day before the conference, a German prosecutor announced he would not pursue the matter, saying there was no indication that U.S. authorities and courts would not deal with allegations in the complaint.
Now ain't that a steamin' pile of bovine loaf? The motherfargin' 20th 9/11 hijacker is bitter that he was rendered uncomfy and humiliated...both of which seem preferable to an incinerating death, I would think!

While the left would be giddier than Barney Frank with a Chippendale strip-o-gram, normal Americans would undoubtedly be alarmed to think that another country can just grant itself "universal jurisdiction" over our public officials and circumvent our laws.

Michelle Malkin cautions us not to overreact, and it's good advice. As she notes:
The German government isn't filing the lawsuit. It's 11 Iraqis and a Saudi who went court-shopping and filed in Germany because the country "provides 'universal jurisdiction' allowing for the prosecution of war crimes and related offenses that take place anywhere in the world." A previous lawsuit was filed on similar grounds and was dismissed. Yes, Germany has its share of weasels. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel isn't one of them and outrage at the country is premature.
The case was dismissed, but it's not the point, is it?

Pretend for a moment that a foreign court said that they have laws prohibiting the poormouthing of their public officials, regardless of where in the world the poormouthing took place. If you poormouthed their prime minister from your home in America, and that foreign court sent a subpoeana from their country to this one, would you honor it? I'd tell them to go pound sand, and that MY laws allow me to poormouth whomever I damned well please.

If they can do this to Rummy and company, can't they do this to soldiers? But hey, nothing to worry's not like the Euros dislike Americans or anything, right?