Currently five individual applications have been lodged before the European Court of Human Rights pertaining to CIA rendition and secret detention operations in Council of Europe member states (against “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Poland, Italy, Lithuania and Romania), many drawing on Senator Dick Marty's investigations.
11 September 2012: PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon welcomes the latest resolution of the European Parliament, adopted on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which calls on Lithuania, Poland and Romania to open or resume independent investigations into allegations that they colluded with the CIA to hold and interrogate terrorism suspects in secret prisons. National investigations so far have been “painfully inadequate”, he points out, but the process of accountability continues.
8 December 2011: Reacting to confirmation of a secret CIA prison in Romania, Dick Marty says: “Five years ago we put forward substantial elements of proof of a secret CIA prison in Romania. There have been years of official denials since then. But the ‘dynamic of truth’ has run its course [...]. Those responsible for the crimes committed – and their cover-up – should now be held to account in a court of law.”
24 November 2011: Reporting on a September 2010 visit to Romania, the Council of Europe’s Anti-Torture Committee (CPT) questions the absence of a judicial inquiry into the allegations of a secret CIA prison in the country. In their response, the Romanian authorities repeat that there is no evidence of this, and that – in the absence of proof – for them the subject is closed.
6 October 2011: In his last report for PACE, Dick Marty evaluates the various judicial or parliamentary inquiries launched after his reports five years ago named European governments which had hosted CIA secret prisons or colluded in rendition and torture. Overall, he concludes that unjustified resort to the doctrine of “state secrets” is still too often shielding secret services from scrutiny of involvement in human rights violations.
5 September 2011: In two comments marking the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks – addressing, in turn, renditions and secret detentions – Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg echoes Dick Marty's repeated calls for accountability on the part of European governments.
19 May 2011: Reporting on a June 2010 visit to Lithuania, the Council of Europe’s Anti-Torture Committee (CPT) questions both the promptness and thoroughness of the Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s pre-trial investigation into abuse of office, then under way. In their response, the Lithuanian authorities report that “no objective data concerning the fact of abuse (or another criminal act) were collected during the pre-trial investigation” and therefore no charges will be brought.
21 August 2009: Reacting to a news report that Lithuania was the site of a third secret CIA prison in Europe, Dick Marty says his own sources seem to confirm this information, and calls for "a full, independent and credible investigation" into what occurred on the outskirts of Vilnius: "Denial and evasion are no longer credible," he says.
6 November 2008: Testifying at the Milan trial of CIA and Italian secret service agents accused of kidnapping Abu Omar, Dick Marty says this is one of the few cases involving the CIA's extraordinary rendition program to come to court. The invocation of 'state secrets' by the Italian government must not - as in other judicial or parliamentary procedures in the US and Germany - be allowed to block the trial: "Let justice take its course!" he declares.
4 April 2008: In a statement, Dick Marty criticises the Committee of Ministers for its response and accuses European governments of "hypocrisy" for continuing to deny their involvement in secret detentions and illegal renditions, unless forced to do so. "The United States made a choice - which I think was a wrong choice - to fight the war on terror using illegal means, but they at least made it openly and defend it," he points out.
16 January 2008: In a reply, the Committee of Ministers – representing the 47 Council of Europe governments – says only that it will “carefully consider” the Secretary General’s proposals to control the activities of foreign intelligence services in Europe.
27 June 2007: The plenary Assembly – bringing together over 300 legislators from 47 European countries – backs Mr Marty’s report and urges better oversight of foreign intelligence services operating in Europe. The use of “state secrecy” laws to protect wrongful acts by secret services should be limited.
8 June 2007: Presenting a second report following several months of additional inquiry, Swiss Senator Dick Marty reveals evidence that US “high-value detainees”, including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, were held in secret CIA prisons in Poland and Romania. Based on extensive, cross-referenced testimony from serving and former intelligence agents, he also alleges a series of partly secret decisions among NATO allies in 2001 which enabled the CIA to carry out illegal activities in Europe.
14 February 2007: In a report, the European Parliament comes to similar conclusions to Mr Marty, saying EU countries “turned a blind eye” to extraordinary renditions across their territory and airspace.
6 September 2006: PACE President René van der Linden reacts to US President George Bush’s admission of the existence of secret CIA prisons by declaring that kidnapping people and torturing them in secret “is what criminals do, not democratic governments”. Such activities will not make citizens safer in the long run, he says. The admission is a vindication of Senator Marty’s work, he adds.
30 June 2006: Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis makes concrete proposals to European governments for laws to control the activities of foreign intelligence services in Europe, reviewing state immunity, and making better use of existing controls on over-flights, including requiring landing and search of civil flights engaged in state functions.
27 June 2006: The plenary Assembly debates Mr Marty's first report and calls for the dismantling of the system of secret prisons, oversight of foreign intelligence services operating in Europe and a common strategy for fighting terrorism which does not undermine human rights.
7 June 2006: Presenting his first report, Dick Marty says he has exposed a global "spider's web" of illegal US detentions and transfers, and alleges collusion in this system by 14 Council of Europe member states, 7 of whom may have violated the rights of named individuals.
17 March 2006: In an opinion, legal experts from the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission say that, under the European Convention on Human Rights and other international laws, member states should refuse to allow transit of prisoners where there is a risk of torture. If this is suspected, they should search civil planes or refuse overflight to state planes.
1 March 2006: Analysing governments' replies to a separate inquiry using powers under the European Convention on Human Rights, Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis says Europe appears to be "a happy hunting-ground for foreign security services" and calls for better safeguards against abuse.
7 November 2005: Following media reports, the Parliamentary Assembly appoints Senator Dick Marty, a Swiss former prosecutor, to conduct a parliamentary inquiry into "alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states". PACE President René van der Linden declares: “This issue goes to the very heart of the Council of Europe’s human rights mandate.”
Other relevant Assembly documents: