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European Parliament, Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers speak on CIA black sites in Europe

The European Parliament has adopted another resolution on CIA secret prisons in Europe. The act follows the last resolution of February 2015, which addressed the US Senate’s report published in December 2014 that revealed details of the CIA secret programme of rendition and interrogation of suspected terrorists.

In the latest resolution, dated 8 June 2016, the Parliament expressed serious concerns about the apathy shown by Member States and the EU institutions with regard to bringing those complicit in human rights violations to justice. The Resolutions mentions, among other things, slow pace of national investigations, limited scope of responsibility and the excessive and undue use of the national security principle.

The EP resolution extensively comments on the visit of the Parliament’s representatives to Romania in September 2015. The resolution recalls that a former director of the Romanian secret services, Ioan Talpes, admitted on record to the European Parliament delegation that he had been fully aware of the CIA’s presence on Romanian territory. He admitted to have given consent to the “lease” of a government building to the CIA.

The Parliament expressed its regret over the closure of the inquiry conducted by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe under Article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The resolution emphasised that many Member States had yet to complete inquiries into the matter, and reiterated the need for further action in this area.

The Parliament called on Lithuania, Romania and Poland to urgently conduct transparent, thorough and effective criminal investigations into CIA secret detention facilities on their respective territories, which should take into consideration all the factual evidence disclosed so far.  The Parliament also insisted on the full and prompt execution of the European Court of Human Rights judgments against Poland and Macedonia, and reiterated that Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, the body supervising the implementation of ECtHR decisions, had called for Poland to seek and receive diplomatic assurances from the USA concerning the non-application of the death penalty and an assurance of fair proceedings.

During the last session in June 2016, the Committee noted that the USA were consistently refusing to grant diplomatic assurances to the applicants held for over a decade in the Guantanamo base. The Committee positively assessed Poland’s willingness to make another attempt at requesting such assurances from the US administration. The Committee also decided to review reports regarding the political oversight of secret services in Poland at its next sessions, in September and December.


In the meantime, on 29 June 2016 the European Court of Human Rights will hold another hearing on the matter of the secret prisons in Lithuania and Romania.

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