AS/Jur 9th July 2007
Background information on the work of the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe1
I The Marty reports: Secret detentions and illegal transfers involving Council of Europe member states
A. Alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states
B. Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states: second report
II State of human rights and democracy in Europe
III The United States of America and international law
IV UN Security Council and EU black lists
V Respect for human rights in the fight against terrorism
I. The Marty reports: Secret detentions and illegal transfers involving Council of Europe member states
A. Summary of 2006 Marty report: Alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states (PACE Doc. 10957; see first hyperlink below for full text of the report)
An analysis of the CIA “rendition” programme reveals a “spider’s web” across the world, of secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers. While the United States is without a doubt the creator of this network, secret detentions and inter-state transfers of detainees have occurred with the collaboration or tolerance of Council of Europe member states, who are duty-bound to comply with their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) & the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to, inter alia, investigate serious allegations of human rights violations. The aim of this report is not to hold certain authorities “guilty”, but to ensure that the executive and legislative branches of member states thoroughly investigate unlawful activity that is incompatible with the fundamental principles of the Council of Europe, and that terrorism is vanquished without violating fundamental human rights.
B. Summary of 2007 Marty report: Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states: second report (PACE Doc. 11302 rev.; see first hyperlink below for full text of report)
It has now been established, with a high degree of probability, that CIA secret detention centres have been located for some years in Poland and Romania, and possibly in other Council of Europe member states. Information from a number of sources, including the analysis of reliable aircraft data, has permitted these places to be identified. These CIA secret detention centres are part of the High Value Detainees (“HVD”) programme, first publicly referred to by President Bush on 6 September 2006. The HVD programme was established by the CIA through the NATO framework, resulting in serious infringements of human rights. There is now a need to combat terrorism through means consistent with human rights and the rule of law. The Report also condemns of the fact that state secrecy and/or national security are invoked by certain countries to obstruct proceedings that attempt to ascertain the responsibilities of the respective authorities complying with the CIA programme. The existence of secret detention facilities is also noted in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation2.
second rapport, 11 juin 2007, Doc. 11302 rev.
II. Summary of 2007 Pourgourides report: State of human rights and democracy in Europe (PACE Doc. 11202; see first hyperlink below for full text of report)
While there has been much progress in the Council of Europe member states in the fields of human rights, rule of law and democracy, there is still a gap between standards as articulated on paper and actual practice. Violations of human rights continue to occur in Europe, and xenophobia and intolerance are increasing. The fight against terrorism is increasingly being used as a pretext to undermine or reduce fundamental human rights. The most effective method of closing the gap is by adopting a zero-tolerance approach. The Council’s Committee of Ministers should take a series of concrete measures, give priority to the most serious human rights violations, eradicate impunity and monitor member states’ terrorism legislation and practice.
• Recommendation 1791 (2007) on the State of human rights and democracy in Europe
• Recommandation 1791 (2007) sur la Situation des droits de l’homme et de la démocratie en Europe
• Resolution 1547 (2007) on the State of human rights and democracy in Europe
• Résolution 1547 (2007) sur la Situation des droits de l’homme et de la démocratie en Europe
III Summary of 2007 Lloyd report: The United States of America and international law (PACE Doc. 11181; see first hyperlink below for full text of report)
While the United States continues to be committed to international law, the U.S. administration, especially since 11 September 2001 and during the “war on terror”, has disregarded key human rights and humanitarian norms. By unlawful detention and inter-state transfers, the continued application of the death penalty, and its attempts to undermine the International Criminal Court, the U.S. is not only tarnishing its reputation, but harming the cause of justice and the rule of law. The Report urges the U.S. to bring an end to the current unacceptable situation, and the Committee of Ministers is asked to remind the U.S. Government of its obligations as an observer state to the Council of Europe, and to seek more information from the US with respect to the above matters.
• Résolution 1539 (2007) sur les États-Unis d’Amérique et droit international, 16 mars 2007
IV. Summary of 2007 Marty black list introductory memorandum: UN Security Council [and EU] black lists (AS/Jur (2007) 14; see first hyperlink below for full text of memorandum)
The term “black lists” refers to the possibility whereby the UN or the EU may order sanctions targeting individuals or entities suspected of having links with terrorism. These sanctions include the freezing of assets and the prohibition of cross-border travel. While they are considered to be non-criminal, the sanctions can nevertheless have very drastic effects on the lives of those concerned; these effects are further augmented by the lack of due process afforded the sanctioned individuals. This pending report will analyse the de-listing procedures and the means of appeal available to such individuals or entities, and examine whether or not the procedures are compatible with the guarantees of the ECHR. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (AS/Jur) organised a “hearing” on this subject in Strasbourg on 28th June 2007; the participants included Mrs. Maria Telalian Minister Counsellor, Greek Representation to the UN (New York), Professor Syméon Karagiannis (Strasbourg), Mr. Vaughan CBE QC (London) and Mr. Spitzer, Avocat (Paris).
V. Summary of 2006 Grebennikov introductory memorandum: Respect for human rights in the fight against terrorism (AS/Jur (2006) 29; see hyperlink below for full text of memorandum)
In the years since 11 September 2001, a new challenge has arisen in the field of international law: balancing the tension between states’ duty to protect their citizens against acts of terror and their obligation to respect human rights. There tends to be a temptation to respond to terrorism with measures valuing public security over human rights. This introductory memorandum examines a selection of anti-terrorism legislation, with the aim of examining their compliance with certain human rights instruments, especially the ECHR, as interpreted by the Strasbourg Court. The rapporteur is of the view that certain legislation does not appear to be in compliance with the Strasbourg Court’s case law and the ECHR itself.
1 Prepared by the Secretariat of the Assembly’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (AS/Jur).
2 The AS/Jur is to present an Information Report to the Assembly on “Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North-Caucasus Region” (Rapporteur, Mr Dick Marty). Expiry date for adoption: 6th October 2008.