Up to two dozen European countries including the UK could face proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights from their involvement in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition operations after 9/11, according to a human rights organisation that has documented worldwide secret support for the programme.
At least 54 different governments – more than a quarter of the world’s total – were covertly engaged with the global kidnap, detention and torture programme, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based NGO. The greatest number – 25 – were in Europe, while 14 were in Asia and 13 in Africa.
Among the European participants, Macedonia has been found guilty by the European Court of the illegal imprisonment and torture of a German national. Proceedings are being brought against Poland, Lithuania and Romania after they permitted the CIA to operate secret prisons on their territory. Italy is facing proceedings in the European court over the state’s involvement in the abduction of a Muslim cleric, who was kidnapped in Milan and flown to Egypt to be tortured. Last week an Italian appeal court upheld the conviction of the CIA’s local station chief and two other Americans involved in the kidnap.
Amrit Singh, the author of the OSJI report, said she believes that other European countries that were involved in the CIA’s rendition could also find themselves before the European Court. “The moral cost of these programs was borne not just by the US but by the 54 other countries it recruited to help,” she said…
“There is no doubt that high-ranking Bush administration officials bear responsibility for authorising human rights violations associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition, and the impunity that they have enjoyed to date remains a matter of significant concern,” the report says.
“But responsibility for these violations does not end with the United States. Secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations, designed to be conducted outside the United States under cover of secrecy, could not have been implemented without the active participation of foreign governments. These governments too must be held accountable.”
The struggle for justice continues. Probably coming to courtrooms around the world long before our own government, present and future, gets sufficient courage to prosecute the criminals who defamed our standards, treaties and law with kidnapping and torture.