11 years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre, Members of the European Parliament adopted on 11 September 2012, a resolution against the widespread practices of illegal detentions and extraordinary renditions taking place on European soil in the framework of the so-called War on Terror.
Holding member states accountable for the CIA’s aforementioned counter-terrorism policies, the text adopted by a large majority at a plenary session exhorts EU member states to disclose information on secret services’ flights carrying suspected terrorists.
The report was adopted after fierce pressure of NGOs, and after the controversial disclosure of the cases of German citizen, Khaled El-Masri and of Egyptian Usama Mostafa Hassan Nasr, respectively abducted from Macedonia and Italy, to name but a few. Also, at a public hearing at the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights on 12 April 2012, Mr. Ben Emmerson, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, urged MEPs to take action against those European states implicated in instances of secret detentions and extraordinary renditions in the context of the War on Terror.
Mr. Emmerson explained that following the publication of the United Nations Global Report on Secret Detentions in June 2010, the UN Human Rights Council addressed 59 states implicated in such practices; amongst the 9 EU member states concerned by the report, 6 had (at the time) failed to provide comprehensive replies to the allegations and did not answer positively to the call for the setting up of independent enquiries to shed light on their practices.
The adoption of the report yesterday sends a strong message regarding the lack of international accountability, striving to end the impunity related to these illegal detention and rendition practices. However, it is important to remember that unless appropriate follow-up and monitoring mechanisms are put in place at the EU level, it is unlikely that the report will produce its full potential.
For more information on the Public Hearing on “Secret Rendition and Detention Practices – How to protect Human Rights while countering terrorism”, read ISIS Parliamentary Update (DROI Subcommittee) of 12 April 2012.