Speaker to Discuss Rumsfeld and War Crimes

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Wolfgang Kaleck, a German human rights lawyer, will discuss the cases he has filed in German and French courts against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other Bush administration officials for their roles in the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. His presentation, “The Case for War Crimes Prosecution of Donald Rumsfeld et al.,” is Tuesday, Feb. 10 at noon in room 1130.

Kaleck, General Secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), has been working in the field of national and international human rights for the past ten years. He was a long-time president (200-2008) of the progressive Republican Lawyer’s Association, and served as vice-president and general secretary of European Democratic Lawyers.

Kaleck has worked closely with Amnesty International, The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Human Rights Watch on cases regarding Germans who disappeared in Argentina, the detainees in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and the former Uzbek Minister of the Interior. Together with the CCR he filed two lawsuits in Germany against former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other high-ranking members of the U.S. administration and military for gross violations of international law in regard to human rights abuses in Abu Ghraib.

Kaleck and the ECCHR worked with the International League for Human Rights (FIDH), the French League for Human Rights, and the CCR to file a lawsuit against Rumsfeld while Rumsfeld was visiting Paris—a suit similar to the one filed in Germany. That suit was dismissed on the jurisprudential ground that Rumsfeld enjoys head of state immunity, even though he no longer holds office and even for acts that violated peremptory international norms and the Convention Against Torture, ratified by both France and the United States.

Kaleck is working on the appeals in both the German and French cases.