Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Ben Saul
Chapter 21: Extraordinary rendition, counterterrorism and international law
The years immediately following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 (9/11) saw the emergence of a novel variation in the way in which governments and state officials may infringe human rights in the name of (real or purported) security considerations: the so-called ‘extraordinary rendition’ programme carried out by the United States. Although instances of irregular transfer, detention and interrogation of terrorist suspects are not new, extraordinary rendition, on the scale and through the modes by which it occurred after 9/11, has undoubtedly posed unprecedented challenges to human rights lawyers, international monitoring bodies, domestic courts and other oversight bodies in their attempts to ensure accountability. Quite apart from the domestic legality of the actions of intelligence agencies and other state officials, extraordinary rendition raises a number of serious concerns with regard to its international legality, which is the focus of this chapter.
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