MOSCOW, September 11 (RAPSI) - Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks urged member states to take political and judicial initiatives to lift the shroud of secrecy over the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) extraordinary rendition program, in a comment published Wednesday.
Muiznieks suggested that September 11 may give rise to solemn reflection not only of the approximately 3,000 lives lost in the massive terror attacks waged in the US twelve years ago today, but of the anti-terrorist response adopted by the US and Europe in the aftermath of the attacks.
In his words, “To date, governments have been unwilling to establish the truth and ensure accountability for their complicity in the unlawful programme of ‘extraordinary renditions’ – involving abduction, detention and ill-treatment of suspected terrorists – carried out by the CIA in Europe between 2002 and 2006. In many cases, an abuse of the state secrets privilege hampered judiciary and parliamentary initiatives to determine responsibility.”
Muiznieks cited a report published by NGO the Open Society Justice Initiative in noting that 25 European countries have cooperated with the CIA, but noted that so far only Italy has handed down sentences in connection with the CIA program.
Calling on member states to act, Muiznieks proclaimed: “It is imperative to take urgent political and judicial initiatives in member States to lift the veil of secrecy Governments have drawn over their responsibilities,“ adding “The CIA programme of rendition and secret detention is not simply a grave political mistake: it is above all a serious violation of fundamental human rights. The continued impunity breeds contempt for democracy and the rule of law, as well as disrespect for the victims and values in whose name the fight against terrorism was carried out. It is high time to set the record straight.”
The report referenced by Muiznieks, entitled “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition,” explains that in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, the CIA launched a secret detention program whereby terror suspects could be held in CIA prisons outside of US territory and subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Around this time, the report notes that the CIA was granted expansive authority to conduct extraordinary rendition, defined in the report as: “the transfer - without legal process - of a detainee to the custody of a foreign government for purposes of detention and interrogation.”
In total, the report claims that up to 54 foreign governments reportedly participated in varying capacities to these operations, including by such means as hosting CIA prisons, torturing individuals, assisting in the capture of detainees, providing access to domestic airspace, and more. According to the report, these countries include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.