Belgium 'in breach' of human rights treaty
23 February 2006, BRUSSELS — The Council of Europe has claimed Belgium is in breach of the Convention on Human Rights for failing to supply information about secret CIA prison camps in Europe.
23 February 2006
BRUSSELS — The Council of Europe has claimed Belgium is in breach of the Convention on Human Rights for failing to supply information about secret CIA prison camps in Europe.
The council has been investigating the alleged CIA prison camps — where terror suspects from Afghanistan and Iraq are allegedly tortured — since November 2005.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch suspects the prisons are located in Romania and Poland, but has no hard evidence to corroborate this.
Swiss Senator Dick Marty is thus investigating on behalf of the Council of Europe whether the prisons exist and to what extent European nations knew that the US was flying terrorist suspects through their airspace.
If the secret CIA flights prove true, Marty has stressed that it is almost certain that European governments knew of the flights.
In December, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht said no CIA flights passed through Belgian airports in recent years.
As part of its investigations, the Council of Europe requested all of its member states to complete a detailed questionnaire by midnight on Tuesday.
Nearly every country sent the answered questions back on time, except for five, including Belgium.
Consequently, the Council of Europe has claimed Belgium is in breach of the Convention of Human Rights, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported.
Christian Democrat CD&V Senator Luc Van den Brande and left-wing Spirit chairman Geert Lambert are angered over the incident and have demanded an explanation from Liberal VLD Minister De Gucht.
The Foreign Ministry admitted the Belgian dossier had not been dispatched in time, but has assured politicians that the documents were sent by Wednesday night.
The requested information needed to be obtained from various ministries, such as the Foreign, Interior, Transport and Justice ministries. The government claims this lead to delays.
However, Human Rights Watch has claimed that European governments are not co-operating with investigations. It was to inform the European Parliament on Thursday that European governments are in effect hindering investigations.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news