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Council of Europe’s Secretary General concluded investigation into CIA secret prisons

Information provided to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe suggests that the Secretary decided to conclude the investigation into CIA secret prisons in Europe.
The investigation was conducted on the basis of Article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights. According to this provision upon a request from the Secretary General of the Council of Europe any Party to the Convention must furnish an explanation of the manner in which its internal law ensures the effective implementation of any of the provisions of the Convention.

The investigation into CIA secret prisons in Europe was launched in 2006 by Terry Davis, former Secretary General of the Council of Europe, after the first media reports concerning the existence in Europe of a network of black sites of American intelligence service, used to detain persons suspected of being involved in terrorist activity.

According to the information provided by Polish authorities, after judgements of the ECtHR in the case of Al Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, Polish government sent diplomatic notes concerning the Al Nashiri case to the USA – requesting guarantee that the defendant will not be sentenced to death and that he will receive a fair trial. The Foundation also stated that the applicants’ attorneys had access to part of the classified information included in the materials collected by the prosecutor’s office in Kraków.

“For outside observers the decision of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to close the investigation into CIA secret prisons may be surprising”, said Professor Ireneusz C. Kamiński, legal expert of the HFHR. “After all, we still do not know a number of elements; there is no data on the secret prisons in Lithuania and in Romania and legal proceedings are still being conducted in various countries, including Poland”, Professor Kamiński adds.

According to Professor Kamiński we should not forget that an investigation launched by the Secretary General has a specific nature – it obliges a country or countries to provide certain information. However, this does not invalidate other procedures available within the framework of the Council of Europe. Cases filed by victims of secret detentions are still pending before the European Court of Human Rights; new cases may still be filed if sufficient information and evidence will be gathered.

To view the statement of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, use this link.

Information provided by Poland in 2006, during the first round of questions, are available here, answers given after the second round are available here.


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