EU Commission to Investigate CIA "Black Centers"

by Peggy McGuinness

The EU Commission has announced an investigation into the CIA “black” detention centers. (Chris discussed the sites here.) The earlier Washington Post article by Dana Priest exposing these CIA black sites did not name names, but noted that several of the CIA facilities are in Eastern Europe. According to the BBC news, the EU inquiry is beginning with official requests from the Commission to the member state capitals. Both Romania and Poland have been named by Human Rights Watch as possible sites — and both have issued official denials. The existence of the sites and the nature of the detentions would be a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which those countries are signatories.

All this comes, not coincidentally, in a week where the White House is pushing for exceptions to the McCain amendment (prohibiting “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of detainees in US government custody) for CIA and other intelligence agencies. It appears that the voices of sanity within the intelligence agencies and the State Department are finally being heard. At the end of the day, Powell and Taft’s original views may win out: carving out legal black holes is bad foreign policy and a bad way to fight the war on terrorism. Perhaps the press revelations of the detailes of the black centers and the pressure from the Europeans will solidify support in favor of McCain and against attempts at weakening or killing his amendment.

(For a discussion about the internal administration debate about the applicability of Common Article 3 of the GCs to detainees generally, see this piece by Marty Lederman on Balkinization. )

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