Sunday

22nd May 2022

EU states must re-open CIA rendition cases, MEPs say

  • 12 EU countries stand accused of colluding in CIA rendition (Photo: Wikipedia)

Lithuania, Romania and Poland should re-launch independent inquiries into allegations that their governments were complicit with CIA rendition and secret detention centres, according to a report backed Tuesday (11 September) by MEPs in Strasbourg.

In the report by French Green MEP Helene Flautre, MEPs accused EU governments of failing to investigate "highly credible allegations" of illegal detention and rendition.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

While a number of member states have instigated parliamentary inquiries into the allegations, politicians and campaigners have come up against numerous barriers, including restrictions on access to documents, narrow remits for investigation and political pressure.

The report attacked the terms of Poland's current criminal investigation into secret detention, stating that it "deplores the lack of official communication on the scope, conduct and state of play in the investigation."

Meanwhile, probes into claims that the Lithuanian government hosted two detention sites are still on-going, with an MEP delegation from the EU parliament's civil liberties committee visiting the country in April.

The report, which is not legally binding, comes five years after MEPs completed their first special enquiry on the matter, led by former Italian Socialist MEP Claudio Fava.

Allegations that EU countries hosted secret detention sites and known of rendition flights were first disclosed in 2005.

A total of 12 EU countries have faced allegations of involvement in rendition and other black operations programmes over the past decade.

The CIA programme, which formed part of US anti-terror policies following 9/11 attacks, saw suspects transferred clandestinely by plane to secret detention centres for interrogation in violation of international law.

Speaking after the vote in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Flautre said she has "evidence of extraordinary renditions, illegal detention centres, torture and other abuses" which "cannot simply be brushed under the carpet."

She called on EU governments to "openly acknowledge that these abuses took place and take measures to address them."

Her view was echoed by British Liberal MEP Sarah Ludford, who called on EU institutions to "have the guts and self-respect to enforce accountability for its own members' involvement in human rights abuses."

She added that the bloc's credibility in promoting human rights was "badly undermined by the justified suspicion that some of our member states rode roughshod over international law and civil liberties."

French centre-right EU deputy Michele Striffler noted that "secret imprisonment with no trial should be impossible on European territory."

During a combative debate on Monday night ahead of the vote, MEPs from Poland and the UK said investigations should only be carried out at national level.

British conservative Timothy Kirkhope, whose political group includes a sizeable Polish delegation, argued that the new CIA report made accusations without any "real proof."

"Until we have an opportunity to draw a line under the accusations and provide real proof one way or the other, reports such as this are actually feeding terrorists and extremist propaganda," he said.

For her part, EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said the commission monitors human rights in member states and holds "regular dialogue with the US on human rights and counter-terrorism issues."

Under the EU treaties there is no common mandate to deal with human rights violations, but the implementation of EU laws on judicial co-operation must be consistent with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Court rules Poland complicit in CIA renditions

A European rights court Thursday found that Poland allowed the CIA to operate a secret rendition and interrogation camp at its Stare Kiejkuty military base and did nothing to stop it.

CIA rendition victim wins European court case

The European Court of Human Rights has vindicated a German national, a victim of the CIA’s secret rendition programme, in what human rights advocates are calling a major ruling.

Agenda

Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK

Eurozone finance ministers will discuss the economic worries with the backdrop of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, agriculture ministers are set to talk food prices, and EU affairs ministers will put Hungary on the spot in the Article 7 procedure.

Podcast

Ultraconservatives in Putin's shadow

Vladimir Putin's Ukraine war has threatened to be a public relations disaster for hard-right gatherings like the Conservative Political Action Conference — now meeting in Budapest and featuring Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, who remains highly-cordial with the Kremlin.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us