European court of human rights condemns Macedonia for “extraordinary rendition” to cooperating CIA officials, in Khaled el-Masri case

News to Note


Nicholas Kulish, “Court Finds Rights Violation in C.I.A. Rendition Case,” New York Times, December 13, 2012.

Amrit Singh, “European court of human rights finds against CIA abuse of Khaled el-Masri; America must now apologise to the German citizen, a victim of mistaken identity who was kidnapped and beaten by the CIA,” The Guardian, December 13, 2012.

Richard Norton-Taylor, “CIA ‘tortured and sodomised’ terror suspect, human rights court rules; Landmark European court of human rights judgment says CIA tortured wrongly detained German citizen,” The Guardian, December 13, 2012.

For a detailed description of the judment, see “Macedonian Government responsible for torture, ill-treatment and secret rendition of a man suspected of terrorist ties,” Press Release, issued by the Registrar of the Court, Doc. ECHR 453 (2012) 13.12.2012.

The decision was made by a unanimous vote of the 17-member Grand Chamber of the Court, comprised of the following members:

Nicolas Bratza (United Kingdom), President,
Françoise Tulkens (Belgium),
Josep Casadevall (Andorra),
Dean Spielmann (Luxembourg),
Nina Vajić (Croatia),
Peer Lorenzen (Denmark),
Karel Jungwiert (Czech Republic),
Khanlar Hajiyev (Azerbaijan),
Isabelle Berro-Lefèvre (Monaco),
Luis López Guerra (Spain),
Ledi Bianku (Albania),
Işıl Karakaş (Turkey),
Vincent A. de Gaetano (Malta),
Julia Laffranque (Estonia),
Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos (Greece),
Erik Møse (Norway),
Helen Keller (Switzerland)


Whoever President Obama’s nominee to be Director of the CIA may turn out to be, the first question in his or confirmation hearings should be to explain the international law underpinnings of this decision, and their implications for extraordinary renditions, torture, and the use of drones under current U.S. policy.

Obama and U.S. intelligence officials, including John Brennan and others in the White House don’t “get” international law.

The confirmation hearings should make sure that they do. International law is the language of international relations in the world today, not 17th century “just war theory” as Brennan, the President and other national security officials would have us believe.

Any nominee to be the head of the CIA sould know every detail of this case by heart, and be able to explain it to any member of the Senate. Obviously, it will also be important to know precisely what the involvement of the nominee, if any, has been in cases of extraordinary rendition, torture, and the use of kill lists and drones to conduct extrajudicial executions, both inside and outside the theater of the war in Afganistan

The Trenchant Onserver