21 January 2005
MUNICH - United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has cancelled a planned visit to Munich.
Rumsfeld has informed the German government via the US embassy he will not take part at the Munich Security Conference in February, conference head Horst Teltschik said.
The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed a complaint in December with the Federal German Prosecutor's Office against Rumsfeld accusing him of war crimes and torture in connection with detainee abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
Rumsfeld had made it known immediately after the complaint was filed that he would not attend the Munich conference unless Germany quashed the legal action.
The organisation alleges violations of German legislation which outlaws war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide independent of the place of crime or origin of the accused.
The prosecutor's office in Karlsruhe reportedly is examining the roughly 170-page complaint to see if an investigation is warranted.
The Center for Constitutional Rights said it and four Iraqis tortured in US custody had filed a complaint with German authorities against Rumsfeld, former CIA director George Tenet and eight other senior military and civilian officials over abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq.
The organization said it had turned to German prosecutors "as a court of last resort" because the US government "is unwilling to open an independent investigation" and had "refused to join the International Criminal Court".
Several of those it wants investigated are stationed in Germany, it added.
Subject: German news
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