ECHR: Romania committed several rights violations due to its complicity in CIA secret detainee programme


The European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) has issued a release on Thursday, informing that it has found several violations, referring to the complicity in the CIA secret detainee programme.

In the cases of Abu Zubaydah v. Lithuania and  Al Nashiri v. Romania the Court found several violations of the Convention, and in particular a violation of the prohibition on torture, on account of the respondent States’ participation in the CIA programme of secret detentions.

It found that Romania had hosted a CIA secret detention facility from September 2003 to November 2005, while Lithuania had done so from February 2005 to March 2006. The applicants had been held in these facilities and the domestic authorities had been aware that the CIA would subject them to treatment contrary to the Convention. The States in question had also allowed the applicants to be transferred to other CIA detention sites, thereby exposing them to further ill-treatment, the release informs.

The case Al Nashiri v. Romania concerned the applicant’s allegations that Romania had let the United States Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA) transport him under the secret extraordinary rendition programme onto its territory and had allowed him to be subjected to ill-treatment and arbitrary detention in a CIA detention “black site”. He also complained that Romania had failed to carry out an effective investigation into his allegations. The applicant in the case, Abd Al Rahim Husseyn Muhammad Al Nashiri, is facing capital charges in the US for his alleged role in terrorist attacks. In today’s Chamber judgment in the case the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

  • violations of Article 3 (prohibition of torture) of the European Convention on Human Rights, because of the Romanian Government’s failure to effectively investigate Mr Al Nashiri’s allegations and because of its complicity in the CIA’s actions that had led to ill-treatment;
  • violations of Article 5 (right to liberty and security), Article 8 (right to respect for private life), and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) in conjunction with Articles 3, 5 and 8,
  • violations of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial within a reasonable time), and Articles 2 (right to life) and 3 taken together with Article 1 of Protocol No. 6 (abolition of the death penalty) because Romania had assisted in Mr Al Nashiri’s transfer from its territory in spite of a real risk that he could face a flagrant denial of justice and the death penalty.

The Court had no access to Mr Al Nashiri as he is still being held by the US authorities in very restrictive conditions so it had to establish the facts from various other sources. In particular, it gained key information from a US Senate report on CIA torture which was released in December 2014. It also heard expert witness testimony.

The Court concluded that Romania had hosted a secret CIA prison, which had the code name, Detention Site Black, between September 2003 and November 2005, that Mr Al Nashiri had been detained there for about 18 months, and that the domestic authorities had known the CIA would subject him to treatment contrary to the Convention. Romania had also permitted him to be moved to another CIA detention site located either in Afghanistan (Detention Site Brown) or in Lithuania (Detention Site Violet), as found in another judgment delivered today Abu Zubaydah v. Lithuania, thus exposing him to further ill-treatment.

The Court therefore found that Mr Al Nashiri had been within Romania’s jurisdiction and that the country had been responsible for the violation of his rights under the Convention.

It also recommended that Romania conclude a full investigation into Mr Al Nashiri’s case as quickly as possible and, if necessary, punish any officials responsible. The country should also seek assurances from the United States that Mr Al Nashiri will not suffer the death penalty.

(…) Article 41 (just satisfaction) The Court held that Romania was to pay Mr Al Nashiri 100,000 euros (EUR) in respect of nonpecuniary damage. He made no claim for costs and expenses.


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