Dick Marty slams European governments for ‘hypocrisy’ over secret detentions

Strasbourg, 04.04.2008 – The Council of Europe’s rapporteur on secret detentions, Dick Marty (Switzerland, ALDE) has strongly criticised what he called the “hypocrisy” of European governments in continuing to deny their involvement in secret detentions or illegal renditions, unlike the United States.

 

Speaking at a Brussels conference about reporting on torture, Mr Marty said: “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. European governments, on the other hand, have been entirely hypocritical since their complicity has been clandestine. Even now, they do not have the courage to declare their involvement, unless forced to do so.”

 

He criticised the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers – representing the 47 member states – which said it would only react “if necessary” to the revelations of secret detentions and illegal renditions, “as if all that has so far been revealed was not enough”.

 

“Governments must also stop hiding behind the hypocrisy of diplomatic assurances,” Mr Marty continued. “They are not worth the paper they are written on, and it is to be complicit in torture to accept them.”

 

“European governments are not merely involved in violating human rights, they are even in the process of trying to sabotage efforts to find out the truth,” he added. “In Italy, for example, the government has done all it can to obstruct the Milan trial of Abu Omar.”

 

Mr Marty said the work of investigation should continue: “We think there are other secret detentions in Europe that have not yet been revealed.”

 

The conference, organised by International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) and the Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH), was also addressed by Carlos Coelho MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament's Temporary Committee on CIA illegal detentions, and Steven Everts, adviser to EU Foreign Policy Representative Javier Solana, as well as a number of journalists and academics dealing with how torture is reported."