MEPs set to adopt final report on CIA activities in Europe

Pressmeddelande   •   Feb 07, 2007 15:10 CET

After twelve months of hearings, more than 30 meetings, 7 official delegations to different countries, analyses and testimony – from witnesses and victims alike – the work of the Temporary Committee on alleged illegal CIA activities in Europe is coming to a close. The Committee’s final report will be debated and put to a plenary vote in Strasbourg on Wednesday 14 February. This note summarizes the committee's work, its findings, and the implications of its conclusions.

Origins and first steps

What began back in November 2005 with news reports of secret CIA detention centres in Eastern Europe quickly evolved into a series of high-profile investigations, at both the national (parliamentary) and the European (Council of Europe) levels. The European Parliament's Civil Liberties and Foreign Affairs committees, meeting in early December 2005, urged the house to open its own inquiry into the allegations. Several MEPs backed the idea of setting up a "committee of inquiry"; others favoured a "temporary committee". A committee of enquiry, according to the EP Rules of Procedure, has the right to probe alleged breaches of Community law. A temporary committee, by contrast, does not have investigative powers: it can invite, but not oblige, Member States' representatives to appear at its hearings.

In the end – and further to an EP legal service opinion that there were insufficient legal grounds for setting up a committee of enquiry – a 14 December meeting of Parliament's political group leaders agreed to set up the Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners . The next day, Parliament as a whole backed the agreement with a resolution calling for a "parliamentary inquiry", which "should at a minimum be conducted through a temporary committee". The formal decision to establish the committee was taken on 18 January 2006 at the Strasbourg plenary session.

The temporary committee's mandate was to examine whether the CIA, in its operations in Europe, had been involved in "extraordinary rendition", detention, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; whether such practices could be considered a violation of EU fundamental rights; whether European citizens were among the victims; and whether Member States were involved. The decision also noted that the committee would liaise and cooperate "as closely as possible" with the Council of Europe in the course of its investigation.

The committee, during its constituent meeting of 26 January 2006, appointed Carlos Coelho (EPP-ED, PT) as its chair and Claudio Fava (PES, IT) as rapporteur.

* Testimony from victims, officials and journalistsTestimony from victims, officials and journalists
* Final committee report – key findings and conclusionsFinal committee report – key findings and conclusions
* Evidence implicates “all” EU Member StatesEvidence implicates “all” EU Member States
* Policy recommendations: committee “expects” Council to launch independent inquiryPolicy recommendations: committee “expects” Council to launch independent inquiry
* The final voteThe final vote

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