An international grouping of lawyers on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in Germany against outgoing US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for his alleged role in sanctioning torture, one of the lawyers said.
The suit was filed to Germany's federal prosecutor Monika Harms in the western city of Karlsruhe, said Hannes Honecker, the secretary-general of the Germany-based Republican Attorneys' Association.
"The suit was filed at 5:30 am and the federal prosecutor's office acknowledged receipt of it," Honecker told the agency.
The suit is being brought on behalf of 11 former Iraqi detainees of the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and one detainee of the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The complaint asks Harms to open an investigation and, ultimately, a criminal prosecution that will look into the responsibility of high-ranking US officials for allegedly authorising war crimes in the context of the war on terror, according to the lawyers' grouping.
Rumsfeld resigned last week after Republicans lost control of the US Congress to the opposition Democrats in mid-term elections.