Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism
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Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism

Edited by Ben Saul

This newly revised and updated second edition provides a comprehensive overview of international counter-terrorism law and practice. Brand new and revised chapters provide critical commentary on the law from leading scholars and practitioners in the field, including new topics for this edition such as foreign terrorist fighters, the nexus between organized crime and terrorism, and the prevention of violent extremism.
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Chapter 23: Extraordinary rendition, counter-terrorism and international law

Silvia Borelli


Although instances of irregular transfer, secret detention and interrogation of terrorist suspects are by no means new, the so-called ‘extraordinary rendition programme’ carried out by the United States with the assistance of its allies in the years immediately following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 was unprecedented in terms of its scale, the level of organization and the number of countries involved. The quest for political and legal accountability and for meaningful redress for victims has posed unprecedented challenges to human rights lawyers, domestic courts and international human rights bodies. The present chapter provides an overview of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme and discusses its legal implications from the perspective of international human rights law. It then examines the – generally unsuccessful – attempts by the victims of extraordinary rendition to obtain redress before national courts and litigation before international human rights courts and monitoring bodies, which has been comparatively more successful.

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