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Introduction - Extraordinary Rendition

Elspeth Guild
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The US-led extraordinary rendition programme directed by the George W. Bush administration a short time after the 9/11 attacks against the United States, and which continued until the advent of the Obama administration, created profound challenges for the international system of human rights protection and the rule of law. The programme run by the CIA as part of the Global War on Terror consisted of the kidnapping, transportation, imprisonment and subjection to various “enhanced interrogation” techniques – torture is the more precise term – of individuals either suspected of engaging in antiUS activities or who were considered to have potential to do so at some point in the future. Extraordinary rendition not only engaged the United States but also involved both the active and passive participation of countries across the world, including many of the Western European democracies. The programme constituted a profound challenge to fundamental principles of international human rights protection and the rule of law, which ultimately resulted in enormous international concern and condemnation. This book examines the efforts of authorities in Europe and the United States to re-establish the rule of law and respect for human rights through the investigation of the programme and its outcomes. In particular, it addresses the obstacles of establishing accountability and the human rights implications of this. The book takes as its starting point two developments in delivering accountability and establishing the truth. One is the publication of the executive summary of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI’s) Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program (the Feinstein Report); the second consists of judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) regarding the complicity of some of the member states of the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). In 20121 and 2015,2 the European Parliament published two studies that assessed the state of affairs regarding the formal inquiries conducted in several European countries since the first allegations regarding the complicity of EU states in the CIA renditions programme were made public. These studies have allowed for a more in-depth examination of the consequences of the CIA-led programme and the participation of various EU states in it.
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Dates and versions

hal-03393981 , version 1 (22-10-2021)



Elspeth Guild, Mark Gibney. Introduction - Extraordinary Rendition. Didier Bigo; Elspeth Guild; Didier Bigo; Mark Gibney. Extraordinary Rendition. Addressing the Challenges of Accountability, Routledge, pp.1 - 8, 2018, 9780815387800. ⟨hal-03393981⟩


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