Since 2006, Miller has been named in a number of legal complaints for his alleged role in the use of torture in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
PROCEDURE IN GERMANY
On 14 November 2006, German lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck filed a criminal complaint with the German Federal Prosecutor against several high-ranking US officials, Geoffrey Miller among them, for their alleged role in the commission of war crimes in the context of US counterterrorism operations. The complaint was brought by several organisations including the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Republican Attorneys’ Association (RAV), on behalf of 12 torture victims who had been imprisoned in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
In addition to Miller, the complaint named as defendants former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, former commander of Coalition Ground Forces in Iraq Ricardo Sánchez as well as his deputy commander Walter Wojdakowski, and Thomas Pappas, who was the senior military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib at the time of the abuses, along with other senior US military and Department of Justice officials. It alleged that the defendants “ordered” war crimes, “aided or abetted” war crimes, or “failed, as civilian superiors or military commanders, to prevent their commission by subordinates, or to punish their subordinates”.
The complaint was brought under the principle of universal jurisdiction according to the Code of Crimes Against International Law, which enables the the German Federal Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute international crimes without requiring a location- or nationality-based connection to Germany.
On 27 April 2007, the Federal Prosecutor declined to prosecute, choosing to exercise her discretion under Sec. 153f of the StPO (Criminal Procedure Code), which allows for refusal of prosecution in respect of acts committed abroad, if a perpetrator is neither present in the country nor can be expected to be present. The Federal Prosecutor cited the probable lack of success of any German investigation on US territory, due to the lack of legal assistance from local authorities, as the main reason for dismissal.
PROCEDURE IN SPAIN
On 27 April 2009, investigative proceedings were initiated in Madrid on behalf of four former Guantanamo detainees, Hamed Abderrahman Ahmed, Ikassrien Lahcen, Jamiel Abdul Latif Al Banna, and Omar Deghayes, for their alleged mistreatment in what preceeding judge Baltasar Garzón termed “an authorized and systematic plan of torture” in U.S. detention facilities.
On 26 January 2010, Judge Garzón held that Spain had jurisdiction over the case. While his finding was based primarily on the fact that all four plaintiffs had ties to the country, Garzón argued that jurisdiction would exist even in the absence of such a link, due to the universal nature of the crimes in question and Spain’s national and international obligations to combat them.
In May 2010, Judge Garzón was suspended from the case, which was reassigned to Judge Pablo Ruz.
On 4 January 2011, the CCR and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) submitted an expert opinion to the court, arguing that Miller bears individual criminal liability for the war crimes and acts of torture inflicted on detainees in U.S. custody at Guantanamo and in Iraq. Based on the evidence collected and analysed in the file, the CCR and ECCHR filed a request for Judge Ruz to subpoena Miller to testify before the court.
On 14 January 2012, Judge Ruz reaffirmed his predecessor’s finding of jurisdiction.
In March 2014, Spain amended its universal jurisdiction law, limiting its applicability to cases involving suspects who are Spanish citizens or are living in Spain. In spite of Judge Ruz’ initial finding allowing the case to proceed, the Spanish National Court dismissed the proceedings for lack of jurisdiction on 17 July 2015. An appeal, filed by the CCR five days later, was in turn dismissed on 17 November 2015. At the time of dismissal, the request for Miller’s subpoena was still pending.
PROCEDURE IN FRANCE
In 2002, an investigation was opened in France into the alleged torture and other serious mistreatment of former Guantanamo detainees Nizar Sassi, Mourad Benchellali and Khaled Ben Mustapha, all of them French citizens. An initial finding of jurisdiction was confirmed in June 2005 by a French appeals court.
In January 2012, investigative judge Sophie Clement issued a formal request to the United States, asking for access to the Guantanamo detention camp, to relevant documents, as well as to all persons who had contact with the three victims during their detention, but received no response.
On 26 February 2014, the CCR and ECCHR submitted an expert opinion detailing Miller’s individual criminal responsibility for the torture of Guantanamo detainees and requested for him to be questioned. In April 2014, the request to subpoena Miller was denied by the investigating magistrate, due to a belief that the United States would refuse to make him available for questioning.
On 2 April 2015, the Chambre de l’instruction de la Cour d’appel de Paris (Paris appeals court) allowed plaintiffs’ appeal against the decision, instructing the lower court to summon Miller to explain his role in the abuses.
The investigative judges complied on 20 January 2016 by ordering Miller to appear before them on 1 March 2016, but the retired General dismissed the summons and failed to appear in court. At the End of June 2016, the investigation remained pending while counsel for the plaintiffs considered their next steps, including whether to seek an arrest warrant for Miller.