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13 Oct, 2013

European Parliamentarians urge end to impunity of CIA rendition and secret detentions


Brussels, European Parliament Plenary Session Press release – Citizens’ rights / Fundamental rights − 10-10-2013 – The climate of impunity surrounding EU member states’ complicity in the CIA’s secret “rendition” and detention programmes has allowed violations of fundamental rights to continue unchecked, as revealed by mass surveillance programmes run by the US and some EU member states, said the European Parliament on Thursday.

MEPs want Parliament’s right to investigate such violations in the EU to be reinforced, and again urge EU institutions and member states to investigate the CIA operations in depth.

MEPs are “highly disappointed” by the Commission’s refusal to respond in substance to the recommendations made by Parliament in its September 2012 resolution on the follow-up to the work of its Temporary Committee on the CIA’s alleged use of European countries for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners. These recommendations are reiterated in this year’s resolution. For example, MEPs again urge the Commission to investigate whether EU rules were breached by collaboration with the CIA programme.

Parliament also reiterates its recommendations to the Council, urging it to issue a declaration acknowledging member states’ involvement in the CIA programme.

The resolution makes specific calls on Lithuania, Romania, Poland, the UK, Italy, Finland, France, Sweden, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Latvia and Slovakia. For example, it asks the UK authorities to establish a “human-rights-compliant inquiry” into the rendition, torture and ill-treatment of detainees abroad.

Parliament’s inquiry rights need to be reinforced

“It is essential, in order to ensure Parliament’s credibility, to substantially reinforce its rights of inquiry for investigating fundamental rights violations in the EU, which should include full power to hear under oath the people involved, including government ministers”, stresses the resolution.

MEPs call on the next Parliament (2014-2019) to continue to fulfil and implement the mandate given by the Temporary Committee and to ensure that its recommendations are followed up, examine new elements that may emerge and make full use of, and develop, its rights of inquiry.

Democratic oversight of intelligence services

Parliament expects its inquiry into the US NSA surveillance programme and surveillance bodies in various EU member states to propose measures for effective democratic parliamentary oversight of intelligence services. “Democratic scrutiny of those bodies and their activities through appropriate internal, executive, independent judicial and parliamentary oversight is essential”, it says.

Close Guantánamo promptly

MEPs call on the US Government “to stop using draconian protective orders” to prevent lawyers acting for Guantánamo Bay detainees from disclosing information regarding any detail of their secret detention in Europe. Parliament encourages the US to complete its plan to close the Guantánamo Bay prison promptly.

The resolution was approved by 286 votes to 180, with 114 abstentions.