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.

 

Iraq investigates Mosul civilian deaths

Iran to symbolically sanction 15 US companies

Syria fighting damages IS-held dam posing rising water risk

Yemeni rebel supporters flood streets on conflict’s anniversary

Cities, monuments dim lights for Earth Hour

In Algeria, everyone wants to be MP, few likely to vote

Iran to appeal seizure of 9/11 compensation money

Hamas shuts Gaza crossing after assassination of official

Deep concern as Israeli laws entrench the occupation

Turkey’s Kurds could sway tight referendum vote

Al-Qaeda, on the rise again, hits Assad where it hurts

US and allies talk of post-ISIS future, but have no plan

Israel’s air strike on Syria spooks Middle East

Gunmen kill Hamas official in Gaza

Separate Syria air strikes kill at least 32

UN says Israel has ignored resolution on illegal settlements

Veteran politician says Turkey referendum a 'test' for Kurds

More Algerian women in work, but husbands control wages

Beirut university settles US lawsuit over Hezbollah

1.1 million weekend travellers from Dubai hit by laptop ban

Shiite Lebanese women endure painful custody battles

Russia, China seek Iraq chemical weapons probe

Besieged Syrians struggle with dwindling dialysis supplies

Syria army retakes Damascus areas from rebels

Syria says peace talks must first focus on 'terrorism'

12 Syrian refugees dead after boat sinks off Turkey coast

Mosul displaced head into unknown

As war keeps them away, Yemen children dream of school

Ousted Egyptian president Mubarak freed from detention

Iraq's Sadr threatens boycott if election law unchanged

Israel, US fail to reach settlement agreement

Yemen rebel missile kills Saudi soldier

Turkish FM in Switzerland amid rising tensions with Europe

Two more 'significant arrests' over London attack

Britain arrests eight as IS claims Westminster attack

Man attempts to drive into crowd of shoppers in Belgium’s Antwerp

Palestinian FA chief says ball in Israel's court

Israel arrests Jewish teen over anti-Semitic terror threats

An Egypt court is to reopen a corruption probe into Mubarak

Bahrain frees award-winning AFP photographer

Erdogan slams 'pressure' on Turks in Bulgaria ahead of vote

Israel policeman suspended after caught on video beating Palestinian

Turkey summons Russia envoy over soldier death in Syria

Bahrain sentences three to death for police bombings

UN-backed Syria talks restart in Geneva