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'Arrest threat' to Rumsfeld trip
February 4, 2005

A group of US lawyers says Mr Rumsfeld is guilty of war crimes

The US Defence Secretary has said he is considering whether to attend a conference in Germany, where he may face arrest for war crimes.

Donald Rumsfeld is due to attend a gathering of high-level defence officials and experts next week.

But he says he has not yet decided whether or not to attend the conference in the German city of Munich.

US lawyers representing Iraqis who say they were abused in US custody have filed a complaint with a German court.

'War crimes'

"It's certainly an issue. It's something that we have to take into consideration," Mr Rumsfeld said on Thursday.

"Whether I'll end up there, we'll soon know. It'll be a week and we'll find out."

There is no mention of Mr Rumsfeld's attendance on the website for the conference, which runs from 11-13 February.

In a suit filed with German federal prosecutors, the New-York based Center for Constitutional Rights accuses Mr Rumsfeld of war crimes linked to the alleged abuse of detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib detention centre.

US investigations into the abuse scandal have concluded that he was not directly responsible.

The complaint was filed in Germany as its laws allow war crimes and human rights violations to be prosecuted across international boundaries.

The prosecutor's office has not taken any action on the complaint, filed last November.

The conference has not always been a welcome event for Mr Rumsfeld - in 2003, German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, publicly challenged Mr Rumsfeld's justifications for possible military action over Iraq, precipitating a deterioration in relations between the two nations.


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