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Court Watch

ina. He has since returned to his home in Pale, Bosnia-Herzegovina to work at his children’s pet- rol station company.

Krajišnik is not the first high-ranking politician to have been convicted by the ICTY and released early. Former Bosnian Serb president Biljana Plavšic was released in 2009 after serving two- thirds of her sentence. On the other hand, the work of the ICTY is far from over. The trial of former Bosnian Serb military leader Radovan Karadžic is not expected to finish until 2014, along with several other prominent cases which are projected to continue into 2016. The ICTY strives for both fairness and impartiality, taking no sides in the conflict.

* Submitted by Joshua Ash

ECtHR Case Against Poland Involving Enhanced Interrogation Techniques


Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and the resulting wars in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and against terrorism in general, the U.S. and its allies have faced tough questions surrounding the legality and moral- ity of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs). Some contend that the use of waterboarding and other EITs contradicts the United States’ position of taking the “moral highroad” against human rights abuses in the international community. Others, including the outspoken former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, argue that the EITs used by the CIA and other intelligence gatherers were not only “essential” to protecting the United States against further attacks and gaining intelli- gence, but in locating the enemy and conducting successful operations, including the one that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.

President George W. Bush authorized the CIA to operate secret prisons (commonly referred to as “black sites”) in coordination with foreign host countries as part of the High-Value Detainee

Program (the “Program”). In 2004, the CIA is- sued a then-classified report stating that the ap- plicable law for interrogations was the Conven- tion Against Torture. The CIA report indicated that waterboarding and sleep deprivation of no more than 11 days were permitted under the Conven- tion. However, field agents were not allowed to use these techniques without prior approval.

Poland and other U.S. allies that played a pivotal role in the Program are now facing lawsuits filed in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) by Abd al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al-Nashiri and Abu Zabaydah.

Al-Nashiri is the alleged mastermind of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole as well as other bomb- ings around Yemen. Abu Zabaydah, a Saudi of Palestinian descent, is alleged to have planned attacks for al-Qaeda and known bin Laden person- ally. Zabaydah was captured in a raid in Pakistan in 2002, along with roughly thirty other members of al-Qaeda. Al-Nashiri was captured in Dubai.

By November of 2002, both al-Nashiri and Zabay- dah were in the custody of the CIA. After brief stays at black sites in Afghanistan and Thailand, al-Nashiri was transferred to Poland in December of 2002. According to the CIA report, al-Nashiri was not cooperative at first, but provided valu- able intelligence after being subjected to water- boarding and other EITs.

In February 2007, the European Parliament con- demned Poland and 15 other countries for their cooperation in the High-Value Detainee Program. Swiss senator Dick Marty’s June 2007 report to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Eu- rope alleged that Italy and Germany further ob- structed the European investigation into the pro- gram by “invoking the concept of state secrets” as a way to prevent questions about the prisons.

On September 5, 2008, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced that his government was investigating the CIA’s use of black sites in Poland. Formerly, government and senior intel-

ILSA Quarterly » volume 22 » issue 1 » October 2013

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