Donald Rumsfeld, who quit as US defence secretary this week, may face criminal charges in Germany for alleged abuses in Guantanamo Bay and Iraq.
Rumsfeld quit after the US mid-term elections this week
A complaint has been launched by the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights, representing a Saudi detained in Cuba and 11 Iraqis held in Baghdad.
German law allows the pursuit of cases originating anywhere in the world.
The centre made a similar request in 2004 but German prosecutors dropped that case.
The Center for Constitutional Rights argues that Mr Rumsfeld was instrumental in abuses committed at Guantanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.
The lawyer group alleges that Mr Rumsfeld personally approved torture to be used to extract information from the prisoners.
It is also seeking to prosecute US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former CIA director George Tenet, among others.
The group's complaint will be filed to German federal prosecutors on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the group said.
The prosecutors will have to again decide whether the complaint should be heard.
Mr Rumsfeld resigned on Wednesday following Republican losses to the Democrats in the US mid-term elections.
The Pentagon has not yet commented on the issue.
The US denies any torture has taken place at Guantanamo Bay and has defended its interrogation techniques.
Abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was brought to world attention after photographs of the incidents were released and published.