Civil rights activists said they would file a suit Tuesday asking German prosecutors to investigate former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and a host of other officials on allegations of war crimes for their alleged roles in abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay.
The 220-page suit is being filed by US and German attorneys under a German law that allows the prosecution of war crimes regardless of where they were committed. It alleges that Rumsfeld personally ordered and condoned torture.
"One of the goals has been to say a torturer is someone who cannot be given a safe haven," said Michael Ratner, the president of New York's Center for Constitutional Rights, which is behind the litigation.
"It sends a strong message that this is not acceptable."
The suit is brought on behalf of 12 alleged torture victims - 11 Iraqis held at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison and Mohamad al-Qahtani, a Saudi being held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who has been identified by the US as a would-be participant in the Sept. 11 attacks.