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

1 Although the decision may be appealed to the US Supreme Court, it has to be considered quite possible that the Court would not take the case. In 2007, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed a lawsuit brought by German national Khaled el-Masri against employees of the CIA and named private companies in relation to his rendition from Macedonia to Afghanistan followed by arbitrary detention and ill-treatment in US custody. The US Supreme Court declined to intervene and so El-Masri was left without access to an effective remedy, in violation of international law.

2 Report of the United States of America submitted to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in conjunction with the Universal Periodic Review. August 2010.

3 See Policies and procedures governing invocation of the state secrets privilege. Memorandum for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies; from US Attorney General Eric Holder, 23 September 2009, available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/documents/state-secret-privileges.pdf