The "Real Surge?" "The Iraqi Army is replacing the US forces departing Iraqi by the end of 2008 at rate of two Iraqi brigades for one US brigade." | Main | Clinton Doesn't Fly Corporate?
November 24, 2007

Rumsfeld Has Immunity, Says the French

In October, a group of U.S. and European human rights organizations brought a legal complaint against Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld accusing him of responsibility for torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. The complaint was brought to prosecutors during Rumsfeld's visit to France under their universal jurisdiction statute for torture, which required that the suspect be on French soil at the time of the complaint. This week, prosecutors threw out the suit.

The FIDH [one of the organizations] said it had received a letter from the prosecutors' office ruling that Rumsfeld benefited from a "customary" immunity from prosecution granted to heads of state and government and foreign ministers, even after they left office.

It said in a statement it was "astonished at such a mistaken argument" and said customary immunity from prosecution did not exist under international law.

The FIDH is flat wrong. Many rules of customary international law protect states and their officials from interference by foreign courts. In this instance, the customary international law protecting Rumsfeld is called immunity ratione materiae. It protects government officials for acts committed in their official capacities. Such immunity continues even when the official has left office.

The reason for the rule is that individuals should not be prosecuted in foreign countries for acts which are fairly attributable to the state. That would too easily lead to a political game whereby government officials face retaliation for the way they choose to run their countries. Most courts are not interested in being used in that manner and so customary rules have developed to prevent it. Similarly, most governments are not too keen on being on the wrong end of such gameplaying so they also discourage it.

In this case, even if Rumsfeld actually ordered torture or merely allowed it to happen, the administration of the prisons and the development of interrogation policy are undoubtedly acts of state. More than that, these acts are completely within the scope of the Secretary of Defense's official duties. The French prosecutors correctly note that customary international law requires them to dismiss the suit.

This is the third time European governments have dismissed torture suits against Rumsfeld. In 2004 and 2006, suits by the FIDH were dismissed by German prosecutors because the lawsuits did not meet the requirements of Germany's universal jurisdiction statute. Now France. It's funny; the Left keeps insisting that we've alienated and angered our allies in Europe.


digg this
posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:39 AM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
Acme Explosives [/i]: " ♪ Oh, ho, the mistletoe Hung where you can ..."

RickZ: "The media are as shameless as a five dollar crack ..."

teej: "No shame man. It's early. And mornin' Eromero. ..."

NaCly Dog[/i][/b][/s]: "No work but chores today. And with that, every ..."

teej: "My cousin's mom put together a package for me. Bi ..."

RickZ: "[I]RickZ - I think in the style guide it would be ..."

Skip: "I need to get moving and make mine ..."

NaCly Dog[/i][/b][/s]: "Gem It's never one of the tribes that are not w ..."

RickZ: "[I]So, another day of work work work. Posted b ..."

teej: "That's what I'm drinking Skip. Well, I call it co ..."

Gem: "I was told by my grandma that we had Cherokee heri ..."

Eromero: "So, another day of work work work. At least not ra ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64