Rumsfeld lawsuit won't damage US-German ties

15th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

15 December 2004 , WASHINGTON - A lawsuit filed in Germany against US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by a human rights group is unlikely to have a negative effect on US-German relations, a Pentagon spokesman said. The New York-based Centre for Constitutional Rights filed a complaint against Rumsfeld in German federal court blaming him for the abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib facility in Iraq and has asked the German government to launch a criminal probe. "The (US Defence) Department considers this l

15 December 2004

WASHINGTON - A lawsuit filed in Germany against US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by a human rights group is unlikely to have a negative effect on US-German relations, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The New York-based Centre for Constitutional Rights filed a complaint against Rumsfeld in German federal court blaming him for the abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib facility in Iraq and has asked the German government to launch a criminal probe.

"The (US Defence) Department considers this lawsuit frivolous and very unlikely to impact positive US-German relations," the spokesman said.

"The (Department of Defence) is concerned by these types of cases because they are generally filed by activists groups on behalf of people making very unsubstantiated charges, charges that have been investigated and resolved or are currently being investigated," the spokesman said.

Rumsfeld was expected to attend an annual security conference in Munich in February. The Pentagon would not confirm whether Rumsfeld planned to attend, citing its rule to not announce his travel schedule for security reasons.

The German magazine Focus reported Monday that Rumsfeld may not make the trip if the German government initiates any kind of an investigation against the defence chief.

The abuse at Abu Ghraib erupted in April when photos emerged depicting American soldiers humiliating naked Iraqis. Some prisoners were brutally assaulted and several prison guards have been prosecuted as part of the Pentagon's ongoing investigation.

The investigation has shown "that the actions depicted specifically at Abu Ghraib were not the result of US policy," the spokesman said. "A number of criminal investigations have also been conducted and continue to be conducted, and these are to ensure that those who have engaged in misconduct are held fully accountable."

The United States, however, will review how to address the lawsuit or investigation on the basis of existing agreements between Germany and the United States, the spokesman said.

There are about 70,000 American soldiers stationed in Germany. German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government steadfastly opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq.

DPA

Subject: German news

 

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