Kan Donald Rumsfeld bli tiltalt i Tyskland, på samme måte som Augusto Pinochet ble det i Storbritannia? Det tror Reed Brody i Human Rights Watch. Grunnen er at alle høyere offiserer så langt har sluppet unna straffeansvar for Abu Ghraib og Guantanamo ved amerikanske domstoler. Hvis de hjemlige ikke gjør jobben er det opp til andre. Derfor er det ikke sikkert at den tyske domstolen vil avvise saken mot Rumsfeld, slik det skjedde i 2005, etter amerikansk press.
Det betydningsfulle ved tilfellet Pinochet var at arrestasjonen og husarresten i Storbritannia kom til å danne presedens, både i Latinamerika og i Afrika.
Pinochet’s London arrest also reflected, and strengthened, a new international movement – spurred by the killings in Bosnia and Rwanda, and facilitated by the end of the Cold War – to end impunity for the worst abuses. After the creation of UN tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the UN established the International Criminal Court to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and serious war crimes when national courts are unable or unwilling to do so.
Even in Africa, whose people have long been victims of cycles of atrocity and impunity, international justice is on the march. The July summit meeting of the African Union, an assembly comprising such notable despots as Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya, called on Senegal to prosecute, «on behalf of Africa,» one of their old colleagues, the former dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré, known as the «African Pinochet.» Earlier this year, Charles Taylor of Liberia, was handed over for trial for war crimes to the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone by the president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo. The International Criminal Court is now investigating alleged crimes in Darfur, Uganda and Congo.
We have come a long way from the days when leaders could act as they wished, secure in the knowledge that they would never be brought to book.
The final frontier has yet to be breached, however. Until now, Western leaders have seemed immune from international justice, leading many rightly to protest about double standards. The most important test case now under way is a complaint filed last month in Germany against Donald Rumsfeld and other U.S. policy makers for alleged war crimes at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. Rumsfeld’s role in approving the use of illegal interrogation techniques such as «waterboarding» and the terrorizing of detainees with guard dogs is no longer in doubt.
An earlier version of the case was dismissed by a German prosecutor in February 2005, after U.S. pressure, on the ground that the United States was adequately investigating the acts at issue. But with all ranking U.S. officials involved in detainee mistreatment have gotten off scot free, that claim can no longer withstand scrutiny. Germany’s handling of the Rumsfeld case will tell us whether the «Pinochet precedent» applies to the leaders of powerful nations as well as weak ones.
kilde: Human Rights Watch
Reed Brody is counsel for Human Rights Watch. He participated in the Pinochet case in London and is lead counsel for the victims of Hissène Habré