Friday, November 10, 2006

 

Our German Overlords

'Universal jurisdiction' is an intolerable assault on our Constitution

As I previously noted, a German procecuter may bring war crimes charges against outgoing Secetary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other current and former US officials:
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.

In bringing the new case, however, the plaintiffs argue that circumstances have changed in two important ways. Rumsfeld's resignation, they say, means that the former Defense Secretary will lose the legal immunity usually accorded high government officials. Moreover, the plaintiffs argue that the German prosecutor's reasoning for rejecting the previous case — that U.S. authorities were dealing with the issue — has been proven wrong.
Michele Malkin comments:
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.
Why? Because the German PM is friendly to the US? What kind of logic that? Since when is American soveriegnty dependent on the benevolence of foreign leaders?

Outrage at Germany isn't premature at all. On the contrary, its long overdue. The arrogance of 'universal jurisdiction' is stunning. Just who do the Germans think they are? No foreign entity has the right to forcably interfere -- or even threaten to forcibly interfere -- in how we conduct this war or in how we Americans govern ourselves. Not Germany, not the UN, not the ICC. Nobody! THIS KIND OF THREAT TO AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AND THE LIBERTY OF AMERICAN CITIZENS SHOULD NOT EXIST AND MUST NOT BE TOLERATED!!! Our government simply MUST respond accordingly.

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