Should Germany exercise universal jurisdiction in cases involving war crimes? DW-WORLD readers have differing views on a current criminal complaint filed against the US Defense Department.
Who can judge crimes against humanity?
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It is a ludicrous position for Germany to embrace such a sanctimonious platform, considering its own history of inhumanity during the Nazi period. No country has a clean rapsheet. Who is Germany to cast the first stone against Donald Rumsfeld? I think he has a terribly difficult job to manage. A tit for tat mentality would only hamstring international cooperation to fight terrorism, of which we all are victims directly or indirectly. The international tribunal is sufficient, to hold the leaders of all countries accountable for human rights. -- Jenny Dalpe-San Francisco, USA
I strongly believe that there should be some form of body, be it German or not that holds individual governments or leaders responsible for their actions. Many times the world has sat by and let irresponsible or reckless leaders abuse their power, causing genocide, world wars, or just regional conflicts where the main casualties are always civilian. The world panders to America because it wants the almighty dollar. Somewhere, someone has to stand up and say, “No, America is wrong and no amount of bribery will correct it.” – Alan Clayson , USA
Someone with a more moral understanding than the U.S. should be able to hold war criminals accountable, regardless of where they are from, if their own country won't. The world needs a global moral consciousness. – Fr. David Fryer, USA
In America one is considered innocent until proven guilty. If Mr. Rumsfeld and others feel they are innocent of war crimes charges, then they should not be concerned about being tried and standing in a trial to prove they are innocent of the charges. – William J. Knight
If no one is held accountable, then what is this world comming to? The World Court or any other court should not bow to threats from any country. If we do then we go back to the way Hitler wanted to run the world. – Ronald Burris
This administration has damaged the greatest nation on earth beyond repair, and has spilled too much blood in the name of their personal greed. Their lies have been such an insult to intelligent people all around the world. It is time now for the people to stand up and put an end to these horrific murderous crimes this administration is committing. I think it's time we in America start to mind our own business and build our future out of resources on our own soil. If cooperation of nations and commerce across the world are willing to do business with America, that's fine. Invading nations under the quise of freeing them from the oppression of supposed cruel dictators, when the actual truth is in obtaining the upper hand in natural resources for a greedy over-consuming capitalist nation, is what I would classify as war crimes. – R.G. Bierwirth
US lawyer and president of the Center for Constitutional Rights Michael Rattner filed complaint against Rumsfeld
The German law that allows Germany to prosecute crimes against so-called international law anywhere in the world is an absurd piece of legislation. Taken to its logical conclusion, it permits Germany to act against anyone in the world as an international arbiter of justice as defined under German law. The lawsuit against U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is an example of how frivilous suits may be brought in German courts to advance extreme political agendas. Had Saddam Hussein remained in power I doubt that the people involved in filing the Rumsfeld law suit would have brought a similar suit against Saddam Hussein. I also doubt that these same groups are filing law suits against leaders in other countries, such as the Sudan, North Korea, Cuba, or China where human right's abuses are rampant. This law damages Germany's international position and should be abolished. – Michael Pasquale Sasso
Please, by all means, prosecute Mr Rumsfeld. He will never be prosecuted in a US court for his crimes. Members of the Bush regime who planned and implemented the war and who have permitted the attrocities of Abu Graib should be held accountable in a court of law somewhere. I wish that could be a US court but that is not likely to happen given the current political reality. Indict Bush, Rumsfeld, Franks, Sanchez, Powell and Gonzalez. Indict the war profiteers who run the private security companies that participated in the Abu Graib and Guantanamo abuses. With enough international pressure, the Democrats might be able to take control of the House or Senate in 2006 and begin putting the brakes on this failed and illegal policy. Criminal indictments, and the message they would send could be what we need to tip the balance of power. -- David West
Is the case against Rumsfeld and the Defense Department an example of selective jurisdiction? Read what DW-WORLD readers say