First Published: 2010-01-27

 
CIA black sites may amount to crime against humanity
 

UN experts warn against 'widespread and systematic' secret detention of terror suspects.

 

Middle East Online

UN called on countries to promptly investigate allegations

GENEVA - UN human rights experts warned on Wednesday that "widespread and systematic" secret detention of terror suspects could pave the way for charges of crimes against humanity.

In their first in-depth global study on the practice, the experts said the practice had spread to almost all regions of the world and was continuing.

The study, which is due to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in March, listed 66 states that have been involved in secret detentions, mainly over the past nine years.

In spite of international norms protecting individual rights, "secret detention continues to be used in the name of countering terrorism around the world," the report added.

"If resorted to in a widespread and systematic manner, secret detention might reach the threshold of a crime against humanity," the authors cautioned in their executive summary.

The "global war on terror", which was launched by President George W. Bush's administration after the September 11 attacks, had "reinvigorated" the use of secret detentions in an organised manner, the authors of the study said.

The campaign marked "the progressive and determined elaboration of a comprehensive and coordinated system of secret detention of persons suspected of terrorism, involving not only US authorities, but also other states in almost all regions of the world," it added.

The study was compiled by two independent UN experts on counter-terrorism and torture, as well as UN panels overseeing arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances.

While commitments by President Barack Obama to dismantle and investigate secret detentions were welcomed, the experts also called for clarification of grey areas including short term CIA holding facilities and those operated by the military Joint Special Operation Command.

Human rights campaigners believe suspects were detained in secret interrogation centres or prisons in recent years, and sometimes tortured or ill treated there, while other countries cracked down on political opponents or restive ethnic groups.

Extraordinary rendition involved abducting suspects without legal proceedings, and flying them to foreign countries or secret CIA prisons.

Drawing on its own interviews with former detainees, witnesses, officials and its own analysis of flight records, as well as published material, the UN study named dozens of secret detainees -- including some alleged to have died in custody.

Thailand denied in a submission to the UN experts that it had hosted a secret detention facility for the United States, according to the study.

Nonethless, the experts maintained that it was "credible that a CIA black site" existed in Thailand, and called on Thai authorities to launch an independent investigation.

The study also welcomed a Lithuanian parliamentary inquiry into similar allegations, which had concluded that there was no evidence to back them up.

However, it stressed that "the findings can in no way constitute the final word on Lithuania's role in the programme."

The UN study also cited evidence of secret US-run facilities in Romania, Poland, and Kosovo as well as several in Afghanistan and Iraq, including "Dark Prison" and "Salt Pit."

Consistent allegations by detainees "adds weight to claims that Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Djibouti" were also used as "proxy states to hold detainees on the CIA's behalf," the report added.

The UN study called on countries to promptly investigate allegations, noting that there had been virtually no judicial proceedings or prosecutions on such cases.

 

Qataris to do hajj on Saudi king expenses

Veteran crisis manager Ouyahia recalled as Algeria PM

Saudi Arabia, Iraq draw closer with wary eye on Iran

Iran’s Karroubi on hunger strike over 6-year house arrest

Civilians stay on frontlines despite dangers in Raqa

Iraq acknowledges abuses in Mosul campaign

Netanyahu under fire for response to US neo-Nazism

Israel to free high-profile suspects in money laundering probe

Spanish police shut down jet-ski migrant smugglers

Syrian actress, activist Fadwa Suleiman dies in Paris

Israeli court extends detention for Islamic cleric over ‘incitement’

UAE to provide $15 million a month to Gaza

Sudan's Bashir 'satisfied' with Nile dam project

US-backed rebels say American presence in Syria to last ‘decades’

Tunisian clerics oppose equal inheritance rights for women

Israel strikes almost 100 Hezbollah arms convoys in 5 years

UN hopes for eighth round of Syria talks before year’s end

LONG READ: How Syria continues to evade chemical weapons justice

Civilians killed in US-led raids on Raqa

Qatari pilgrims begin flooding into Saudi by land

Turkey arrests 9 more journalists for alleged ‘Gulen links’

Saudi Arabia to restart work on Grand Mosque expansion

Algeria reshuffles cabinet, nominates three new ministers

Syria rebels lose heavyweight faction

ICC orders Mali ex-jihadist pay 2.7 m euros for Timbuktu destruction

Libya seeks to ‘organise’ NGOs carrying migrant rescue Ops

More than one million South Sudan refugees in Uganda

Beirut, Damascus pledge to boost economic ties

Two killed on Gaza-Egypt border

Fire breaks out at UNESCO heritage site in Saudi Arabia

Iran military chief in Turkey for talks on Syrian war

Saudi Electricity announces $1.75b in international loans

Israel to strip Jazeera journalist of press credentials

Bahrain state media accuses Qatar of trying to topple regime

Iran's Khamenei blasts US over Charlottesville

Libyan forces snub ICC over warrant for commander

Iran’s detained opposition leader starts hunger strike

Arab fighters struggle to make impact in battle for Raqa

IS suicide bombers kill seven Iraqi security personnel

Lebanon repeals 'marry your rapist' law

Qatar’s sovereign fund plans new investments despite sanctions

Turkey asks Germany to investigate 'top coup fugitive' sightings

Iran laments ‘hypocritical’ US religious freedom report

No single pattern in radicalisation of foreign fighters, says Tunisian study

Turkey tells Iraqi Kurds that referendum risks ‘civil war’