17 August 2012


'Extraordinary Rendition and the Quest for Accountability in Europe' (UCD Working Papers in Law, Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05/2012) by Suzanne Egan comments that
Despite the conclusions of many high level investigations in Europe that European States had facilitated the practice of “extraordinary rendition” engaged in by the United States post 9/11, very little progress has been made in holding those States accountable for their actions and omissions. Distinguishing between various forms of accountability, it takes as its primary focus the prospects of achieving legal accountability for complicity in extraordinary rendition in Europe. Recognising that complicity is a complex phenomenon that embraces a wide spectrum of conduct, the article applies the accountability lens to different degrees of participation in extraordinary rendition, namely, direct and active participation on the one hand, to indirect or passive forms of participation. It concludes that while international human rights law is capable of addressing direct forms of complicity, significant challenges are faced in holding European states legally responsible where indirect participation in the process is concerned. Further obstacles are faced in compelling the initiation of public inquiries into complicity and in mitigating invocation of national security interests in the context of civil proceedings. By thus exposing the current fault-lines of human rights law in dealing with this issue, the underlying aim of the article is to help focus minds on the possibilities for filling those gaps and the best means of influencing the policy of States in the matter of extraordinary rendition.