The US has to date failed to bring to justice those responsible for the torture and abuse of detainees by US army forces and secret services since 11 September 2001. Only a small number of low ranking members of the military have faced trial at special military court proceedings for instances of torture, including for the abuse at Abu Ghraib. ECCHR and the New York Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), together with cooperating attorneys in Germany, France, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland have therefore taken legal action against former members of the Bush Administration who directly or indirectly ordered or – in the case of the Administration’s top level lawyers – attempted to legitimize these crimes. ECCHR has also been involved in submitting a number of complaints on the matter to UN Special Rapporteurs.
While criminal complaints against those most responsible for the crimes have been discontinued by the authorities, investigatory proceedings are ongoing in Spain and France in the case of individuals who were detained in Guantánamo. ECCHR is representing German resident Murat Kurnaz in the Spanish proceedings. There is no indication that legal action will be taken by US authorities in relation to torture in Guantánamo and in Iraq. For this reason, recourse will be had to all available legal mechanisms in Europe in order to establish legal liability and to lend support to calls within the US for independent investigations into those responsible at the highest level.
More information on the individual cases can be found here:
Criminal complaint against George Bush in Switzerland
Criminal complaint against Donald Rumsfeld and others in Germany and France
Formal communication on Commander Craddock
The case of rendition victim Khaled El Masri
The case of rendition victim Maher Arar