Still No Accountability for Ireland's Complicity in Torture

Letter by Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch published in the Irish Independent on June 26th 2017.

Monday 26th June is designated as the UN day in support of victims of torture. The UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) was ratified on 26th June 1987. UNCAT was incorporated into Irish law by the Criminal Justice (UNCAT) Act 2000. The heinous crime of torture has not been eliminated and the 21st century has seen an increase in torture by states, including the United States, with its so called Extraordinary Rendition program, which saw torture inflicted on prisoners in Guantanamo and other prisons and so-called Black Sites, with the approval of officials of the US Government. Such torture programs are not confined to the United States. A recent Human Rights report, dated 22 June 2017 states that: "The UAE (United Arab Emirates) supports Yemeni forces that have arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and abused dozens of people during security operations".

Reports by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, also questioned the Irish Government's role in facilitating the US Extraordinary Rendition program by allowing CIA aircraft involved in this torture program to be refuelled at Shannon airport. Under the UN Convention Against Torture and enabling Irish legislation, not only is it illegal to commit acts of torture, but it is illegal to facilitate such acts. This is specified in Article 4.1. of UNCAT which states: "Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture." As yet, there has been no accountability for Irish complicity in acts of torture, and our Irish Government has failed to adequately advocate against torture or in support of victims of torture.

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