US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former CIA director George Tennet no longer have reason to fear for their freedom should they decide on a trip to Germany. A state court in Stuttgart ruled Thursday that German federal prosecutor Kay Nehm is not required to prosecute the two men for war crimes in relation to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib in 2003 and 2004. The court decided against a petition from a group of lawyers and human rights organizations called the Republican Lawyers Association, which was representing 17 alleged torture victims. The Stuttgart court said Nehm adequately evaluated the case and approved his refusal of it in February. At the time, Nehm said it was not up to a third state to prosecute the charges, as they are already being investigated in the United States. The group of lawyers criticized the decision, saying the US investigation deals only with a handful of low-ranking American soldiers, not any high-ranking officials and leaves the "victims of the worst crimes without any legal protection."
The acting foreign minister of Ukraine has said that Kyiv has begun working to create a contact group. Russia has also said it's also ready for dialogue, but not if it continues to be portrayed as the bad guy.
The Hotel Ukraine has seen a lot of action lately. It has been a press center, a hospital and a mortuary during protests on Kyiv's Maidan Square. Memories of the dramatic events bring tears to the eyes of hotel staff.
Andrea Eskau has won the first gold medal for the German team at the 11th Winter Paralympics in Sochi. The Games were officially opened by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.