Renditions remain a global problem, says new ICJ report

Failure to assert the rule of law in the transfer of suspects across borders perpetuates violations of human rights in cases where national security is invoked, a new ICJ report finds.

Released today, the ICJ report Transnational Injustices – National Security Transfers and International Law documents laws and practices in the OSCE region involving transfer of national security suspects by all possible means without regard to national law or States’ international legal obligations.

“This report demonstrates that, under different guises, some States still continue to abuse extradition and expulsion procedures and sometimes even to resort to abductions and renditions in cases related to counter-terrorism or national security,” said Róisín Pillay, Director of the ICJ Europe and CIS Programme.

“This has pernicious consequences for the respect of human rights and the rule of law,” she added.

“In some states, such as in Russia and Central Asia, existing national legal procedures to protect against abusive transfers have been bypassed or ineffective,” Pillay said.

She added: “We need to put judges and human rights law at the heart of extradition procedures to ensure their effectiveness and to prevent arbitrary and extra-legal transfers of suspects.”

Lack of accountability in cases where suspects’ human rights have been violated fuels further abuses, the report finds.

“With the closure of the US programmes, renditions were thought to be over,” said Massimo Frigo, Legal Adviser at the ICJ.

“The almost complete lack of accountability for US renditions has provided a blank check of legitimacy to any countries trying to bend or break the rules at the expenses of the basic safeguards of one’s human rights,” he added.


Practices in a number of States in recent years have highlighted the serious implications for human rights and the rule of law of transfers of people based on national security and criminal cooperation grounds in the Russian Federation, Central Asia and beyond.

Extraditions, expulsions and, sometimes, transfers occurring outside of the legal framework have triggered international reactions and rulings of international courts and quasi-judicial bodies.

The ICJ report Transnational Injustices – National Security Transfers and International Law is based on research of these practices, documenting illustrative cases, and the applicable legal framework.

The report analyses extradition, expulsion and informal transfers in the Russian Federation, Central Asian countries and EU Member States, as well as the rendition practices in the United States and assesses the situation against international human rights law.

The report offers concrete recommendations for change based on the comparative experiences of selected EU member States.


Róisín Pillay, ICJ Europe Programme Director, t: +32 2 734 84 46 ; e: roisin.pillay(a)

Massimo Frigo, ICJ Legal Adviser, t: +41 22 979 3805 ; e: massimo.frigo(a)

Europe-Transnational Injustices-Publications-Reports-Thematic reports-2017-ENG (Full report in English, PDF)

Europe-Transnational Injustices-Publications-Reports-Thematic reports-2017-RUS (Full report in Russian, PDF)

Europe-Transnational Injustices-ExecSummary-Publications-Reports-Thematic reports-2017-ENG (Executive Summary in English, PDF)

Europe-Translational Injustices-ExecSummary-Publications-Reports-Thematic reports-2017-RUS (Executive Summary in Russian, PDF)

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