Europe’s ‘secret CIA prison’ states must not hide behind secrecy
(Brussels, 6 October 2011) As the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly votes in favour of a resolution and recommendation on the abuse of state secrecy and national security in the context of the CIA’s rendition and secret detention programmes, Amnesty International has reminded all European governments allegedly involved in the programmes, and particularly Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania and the UK, to abide by their legal obligation to investigate all allegations of serious human rights violations.
“The Council of Europe’s resolution should remind European governments that invoking state secrecy must not be used as a barrier to accountability for complicity in the CIA programmes”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
Amnesty International believes governments should not be able to invoke secrecy or confidentiality over a piece of information if doing so obstructs independent, impartial, and thorough investigation of alleged human rights violations, prevents perpetrators from being held accountable, and stops victims from receiving effective remedy and reparation or prevents public disclosure of truth about the violations.
While it might be justified to keep certain information out of public view (eg where disclosing a name or similar specific information would demonstrably endanger the safety of an identified person), Amnesty International believes accountability processes should always comply with states’ human rights obligations.
Although individual prosecutors in some countries have tried to investigate and ensure accountability for past violations, European governments have regularly invoked national security or state secrecy grounds to thwart investigations.
For interviews or further comment, please contact:-
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office, Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0)2 548 2773