Strasbourg, 11/9/2013 – Twelve years ago, almost three thousand people were killed by the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Commemorative events provide an occasion to pay respects to the innocent victims, but also to reflect on the anti-terrorist response adopted by the USA and Europe. By allowing unlawful detentions and interrogation techniques amounting to torture, this response caused further suffering and violated human rights law, says Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Human Rights Comment published today.
To date, governments have been unwilling to establish the truth and ensure accountability for their complicity in the unlawful programme of “extraordinary renditions” – involving abduction, detention and ill-treatment of suspected terrorists - carried out by the CIA in Europe between 2002 and 2006. In many cases, an abuse of the state secrets privilege hampered judiciary and parliamentary initiatives to determine responsibility. Though secrecy is sometimes necessary to protect the State, it should never serve as an excuse to conceal serious human rights violations. (continue reading)