- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 10, 2005

A German prosecutor yesterday dismissed a war-crimes complaint brought by a leftist legal group, paving the way for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to attend a NATO conference this weekend in Munich.

Mr. Rumsfeld had balked at attending while the complaint against him was pending in German jurisdiction. The Pentagon has labeled as “frivolous” the complaint brought by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, whose founders included famed radical lawyer William Kunstler, who died in 1995.

In 2002, Germany enacted a law that establishes it as a world court for criminal charges of war crimes. The law center filed charges in November, accusing Mr. Rumsfeld of complicity in the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

A German prosecutor said yesterday he will not pursue the case because the United States has launched a series of investigations and is punishing prison guards.

“There are no indications that the U.S. authorities and courts have refrained or would refrain from taking penal steps related to the abuses cited in the criminal complaint,” the German prosecutor’s office said, according to the Associated Press.

Larry Di Rita, Mr. Rumsfeld’s spokesman, said yesterday that the secretary now is making plans to attend the Munich conference.

“We learned that the German government had decided to end any further consideration of the irresponsible charges that the activist group had made against several Defense Department officials,” Mr. Di Rita said. “As that was one of the factors on which the decision to consider [the conference] was based, the secretary determined that he would try to change his schedule and attend the conference. We contacted the event organizers and they were very pleased to try to accommodate a late schedule change.”

Mr. Rumsfeld was in Nice, France, attending another NATO conference.

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