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Germany Won’t Charge U.S. in War Crimes Case

Posted Apr 27, 2007 3:38 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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German prosecutors reportedly said today that their country will not pursue a war crimes case against high-ranking U.S. officials that was requested by a New York City-based human rights group.

The Center for Constitutional Rights had alleged that current and former Bush administration officials were complicit in the torture of military prisoners, and the group will continue to seek a legal forum to pursue the issue, reports AP. German law allows the country to prosecute war crimes committed anywhere in the world, but prosecutors essentially deferred to the U.S., saying there is no reason to believe appropriate inquiries will not be conducted by American authorities and courts, the AP article explained.

"'If Germany is not willing to enforce their law, we think other countries will be— we're not going to leave a stone unturned,'' said Michael Ratner, the group's president, to the AP. "I think everyone recognizes that high-level U.S. officials ran a torture program around the world."

President Bush has repeatedly said that the U.S. does not torture military prisoners, and individual members of the American armed forces have been punished, and even criminally charged and convicted, for proven prisoner abuses.

It is not clear what the next move might be for Ratner's group. According to the AP, a war crimes case cannot be pursued either with the International Criminal Court, because the U.S. isn't a member, or with the United Nations, because the U.S. has veto power.

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