01 Jun 2012

The results of inquiries into the CIA’s programme of extraordinary rendition and secret prisons in European states in light of the new legal framework following the Lisbon Treaty

Sergio Carrera / Elspeth Guild / João Soares da Silva / Anja Wiesbrock

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Commissioned by the European Parliament, this study assesses the ‘state of play’ of European countries’ inquiries into the CIA’s programme of extraordinary renditions and secret detentions in light of the new legal framework and fundamental rights architecture that has emerged since the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force. It identifies a number of ‘EU law angles’ that indicate a high degree of proximity between the consequences of human rights violations arising from the alleged transportation and unlawful detention of prisoners and EU law, competences and actions – which challenge the competence of EU institutions and/or their obligation to act. The note presents a scoreboard and a detailed survey of the results, progress and main accountability obstacles of political, judicial and ombudsmen inquiries in twelve European countries. It argues that in addition to the various accountability challenges, the uneven progress and differentiated degrees of scrutiny, independence and transparency that affect national inquiries compromise the general principles of mutual trust, loyal cooperation and fundamental rights that substantiate the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) and in particular, those policies that are rooted in the principle of mutual recognition. Finally, the note uses the findings to formulate a number of policy proposals for the European Parliament.