Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Strasbourg - European Union member states accused of having hosted secret CIA jails in the wake of the 9/11 attacks should come clean on the issue, said a resolution approved Tuesday by the European Parliament.
The non-binding resolution targeted Lithuania, Poland and Romania in particular.
They were urged to shed more light on allegations that they had hosted secret prisons used by the US Central Intelligence Agency for its controversial rendition programme in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The resolution was based on a new report submitted to the parliament by Helene Flautre, a French Greens Member of the European Parliament, but written by her British Liberal Democrat colleague Sarah Ludford.
Welcoming the vote, Flautre said: “The report supports the existence of a vast, secret and illegal system that led to acts of torture and forced disappearances.
“It is based on new facts revealed, in particular, in aerial databases held by Eurocontrol,” she added. Eurocontrol is responsible for air traffic control and safety in EU territory.
The resolution, which was adopted by 568 votes to 34, with 77
abstentions, declared: “Only genuine national security grounds can justify secrecy.”
It denounced the obstacles it said some member states had put in the way of probes by national parliaments and the judiciary into the CIA programme.
“Lack of transparency, classification of documents, prevalence of national and political interests (...) lack of rigorous investigative techniques and of cooperation” are among these obstacles, the resolution added.
It called on Romania to reopen inquiries into alleged CIA detention centres on its territory in the light of new evidence of flights between Romania and Lithuania.
It also called on Lithuania to cooperate.
And it urged Poland to persevere in an ongoing criminal probe into the secret detention centres said to have operated there, while deploring the government's silence on the investigation.
The resolution also called on several other member states to fully disclose any relevant information they might have on the issue of secret CIA flights on their territory.
It named Britain, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain.
Ludford, the report's author, criticised member states for having failed to properly investigate the alleged rights abuses.
“Delays and deliberate obstructions to independent and transparent national inquiries are an affront to liberty and justice,” she said.
“It is a travesty to claim 'state secret' to perpetuate impunity. The EU must have the guts and self-respect to enforce accountability for its own members' involvement in human rights abuses.”
Last week, Poland provided the European Court of Human Rights with information for its probe into a Guantanamo inmate's claims he was tortured in an alleged CIA secret prison in Poland.
But it asked for the information to be kept secret so as not to compromise its own investigation.
The Council of Europe has alleged that detainees were held in Poland in secret, solitary confinement and subjected to “enhanced interrogation” that included such torture techniques as waterboarding, or simulated drowning.
The rights and democracy body has also said that other secret prisons were set up in Romania and Lithuania. - Sapa-AFP