USA: Secrecy blocks accountability, again: Federal court dismisses 'rendition' lawsuit; points to avenues for non-judicial remedy

Report
September 10, 2010

USA: Secrecy blocks accountability, again: Federal court dismisses 'rendition' lawsuit; points to avenues for non-judicial remedy

Document - USA: Secrecy blocks accountability, again: Federal court dismisses 'rendition' lawsuit; points to avenues for non-judicial remedy

USA: Secrecy blocks accountability, again

Federal court dismisses ‘rendition’ lawsuit; points to avenues for non-judicial remedy

 

09 September 2010

AI Index: AMR 51/081/2010


 

[T]hat the judicial branch may have deferred to the executive branch’s claim of privilege in the interest of national security does not preclude the government from honouring the fundamental principles of justice

US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 8 September 2010


 

It is a fundamental principle of international law that any person whose human rights have been violated shall have access to an effective remedy. It is also a fundamental principle that those responsible for crimes under international law be brought to justice.

A federal court ruling on 8 September 2010 upholding the US administration’s invocation of the “state secrets privilege” and agreeing to dismiss a lawsuit brought by five men who claim they were subjected to enforced disappearance, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment at the hands of US personnel and agents of other governments as part of the USA’s “rendition” program operated under the auspices of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), may end their pursuit of judicial remedy in the USA.1

The six judges in the majority pointed to the possibility that “non-judicial relief” might be open to the plaintiffs, and that action to this end could be taken by the executive or Congress. Whether or not the court was wrong to shunt the matter to other branches of government, as the five dissenting judges suggested, Amnesty International once again urges the USA to meet its international obligation to ensure remedy and full accountability for the human rights violations, including the crimes under international law of torture and enforced disappearance, committed as part of the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation operations.