UN Torture Committee seeks further answers from Lithuania on involvement in CIA detention and rendition

Last week, the UN Committee against Torture adopted its Concluding Observations [full text] on Lithuania’s third periodic report on its compliance with the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. As foreshadowed by Meg Satterthwaite at Just Security, the Committee urges the Lithuanian government to take further action in relation to its alleged participation in the CIA’s secret detention and rendition program. In particular, Lithuania is asked to complete its investigation into the allegations and provide further information on the ongoing pre-trial investigation initiated by the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Lithuania’s role in the CIA program was first revealed by the media in 2009. Meg Satterthwaite’s post provides a useful overview of developments since the details came to light, and my previous post covers the pre-trial investigation into allegations that a Guantánamo detainee, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, was held at a secret CIA detention facility in the country between 2004-2006.

Despite the fairly detailed questions posed by the Committee as part of its list of issues, the Committee made limited progress in obtaining answers from Lithuania about its role in implementing the CIA’s extraordinary rendition and detention program.

The full text of the Committee’s Concluding Observations on this issue is reproduced below:

16. While noting that the Prosecutor General’s Office has opened on 13 February 2014 a pre-trial investigation in relation to paragraph 3 of article 292  of the Criminal Code, the Committee is concerned that the Parliamentary investigation failed to determine whether CIA detainees were held in or transited through Lithuanian territory and that the pre-trial investigation launched by the Prosecutor General’s Office was terminated owing to the applicability of the statute of limitations which precludes disciplinary action and the fact that the file constitutes an official secret.  (art. 2, 3, 12, 13 and 16)

The Committee:

(a) Urges the State party to complete the investigation into allegations of its involvement in the Central Intelligence Agency rendition and secret detention programmes within a reasonable time.  It also recommends that the State party inform the public and ensure its investigation process is transparent;

(b) Requests the State party to provide it with an update on the outcome of the pre-trial investigation initiated by the Prosecutor General’s Office in relation to paragraph 3 of article 292 of the Criminal Code regarding the unlawful transportation of persons across the State border.

 

About the Author(s)

Ruchi Parekh

Former Associate Editor at Just Security Follow her on Twitter (@RParekh88).