1 October 2007, New York

Rendition, the War on Terror and Human Rights: A European Approach

New York
1 October 2007, 12:00 am

The CIA "rendition" flights, the illegal transportation of victims to countries notorious for torturing, and the complete deprivation of fundamental rights of the abducted persons, constitute one of the most outrageous human rights violations today. Most criticisms have been directed against the US Government, but European Governments are also responsible for tolerating torture programs, and actively assisting the CIA in several cases,by providing intelligence, granting access to airport facilities and airspace, handing over detainees, and even, in the case of Poland and Romania, allowing the CIA to interrogate prisoners in secret detention centres on their territories.

The reports prepared by Giovanni Claudio Fava, for the European Parliament, and by Dick Marty, for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), offered compelling evidence of the participation of the government's of Poland and Romania in unlawfully detaining people in "dark sites" on their soil. The reports also contain strong indications of wrongdoing by the governments of Albania and Macedonia, especially in the unlawful abduction of Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen, and the subsequent cover-up of that abduction.

Despite this compelling evidence, the European Parliament and PACE rapporteurs affirmed that when questioned government representatives provided flagrantly inconsistent information. No governmental or non-governmental organizations conducted serious investigations.

The Warsaw-Conference on October 1st, 2007 the first official meeting that examined the Polish Government’s role in "rendition" took place. ECCHR invited lawyers from Albania, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania as well as west European and American practitioners to the meeting.

The Berlin-Workshop on October 3rd and 4th, 2007 was the first attempt to discuss the rendition cases on a European level. ECCHR brought European and American practitioners together to discuss coordination of the cases and possible future legal and political actions.

The public conference on October 4th and 5th 2007 in Berlin was in collaboration with Amnesty International, Germany and the Republican Lawyer's Association. It is the second such conference in Berlin. The first event in 2006 was well attended by lawyers, judges, academics and human rights activists.


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