23 Sep 2015

A quest for accountability? EU and Member State inquiries into the CIA Rendition and Secret Detention Programme

Didier Bigo / Sergio Carrera / Elspeth Guild / Raluca Radescu

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Authors Didier Bigo, Sergio Carrera, Elspeth Guild and Raluca Radescu

Series: Externally published research No of pp: 119

This study assesses the extent to which EU Member States have delivered accountability for their complicity in the US CIA-led extraordinary rendition and secret detention programme and its serious human rights violations. It offers a scoreboard of political inquiries and judicial investigations in supranational and national arenas in relation to Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom. The study takes as a starting point two recent and far-reaching developments in delivering accountability and establishing the truth: the publication of the executive summary of the US Senate Intelligence Committee (Feinstein) Report and new European Court of Human Rights judgments regarding EU Member States’ complicity with the CIA.

The study identifies significant obstacles to further accountability in the five EU Member States under investigation: notably the lack of independent and effective official investigations and the use of the ‘state secrets doctrine’ to prevent disclosure of the facts, evade responsibility and hinder redress to the victims. The study puts forward a set of policy recommendations addressed to the European Parliament for removing these obstacles to effective accountability.

This report was commissioned by the Civil Liberties and Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament and can also be downloaded from the Parliament’s website here.

Didier Bigo is Professor at King’s College London and Science Po Paris, and Director of the Centre for Study of Conflicts, Liberty and Security. Sergio Carrera is Head of the Justice and Home Affairs section at CEPS and Associate Professor at the University of Maastricht. Elspeth Guild is Senior Associate Research Fellow at CEPS and Jean Monnet Professor ad personam of European immigration law at Radboud University Nijmegen and Queen Mary, University of London. Raluca Radescu is Researcher at CEPS.