International Law and CIA Rendition

Rendition means transferring individuals perceived to be criminals from one state to the other. In the current international system, rendition is the major cause of controversy because powerless states feel that the most powerful interfere with their sovereignty. Powerful states claim that suspects who carry out terror attacks should be handed to them for further interrogation and questioning. After the 9/11 attack, the US government advocated for policies that would make it legal to apprehend criminals in foreign citizens in its soil. The policy makers suggested that the government would detain prisoners irrespective of their countries of origin. This would allow the US government to obtain information regarding the activities of terrorists worldwide. For instance, a terrorist arrested in Middle East would be transferred to the US for interrogation. It is believed that a terrorist would be willing to cooperate with security agencies if taken to a foreign state. Through rendition, the US security agencies, particularly the CIA, argues that terrorists will be eliminated from the streets. In fact, intelligence officials note that rendition is the other effective strategy of eliminating terrorism, apart from missile strikes (Johnston 4).

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Rendition is controversial because the suspects arrested might be innocent yet they end up being tortured. In the recent years, there have been reported cases of substandard captures, mistaken identities, and persecution of innocent individuals. The international community interpret rendition to mean an illegal instrument that the US government uses to intimidate its opponents. Rendition is controversial because there is no clear system of arresting criminals. In other words, the criminal justice system is not followed. For instance, the CIA works with private transport companies, such as the Boeing Company, to transfer suspects without informing other actors in the international system.

The Obama administration has been reluctant to discard rendition policies because it is viewed as an effective tool of fighting terrorism. The policies surrounding rendition raise controversies because prisoners are only apprehended for short-periods. Suspects are not given time to defend themselves because they are taken to torture chambers to admit the alleged claims. This amounts to violation of human rights, such as freedom of expression, the right to fair trial, the right to life, and freedom from torture. Even though rendition is illegal, few human rights groups have come out strongly to oppose the policy. This is because terrorism is a new threat in the international system that attracts the attention of all major actors. Supranational organizations believe that states should have some policies that would help them contain the threats posed by terrorism (Hooper 8).

In the international law, rule 149 provides that the state is responsible for any crime committed by its organs or citizens. In particular, the state is held responsible for crimes committed by its state organs, such as the armed forces. Moreover, states are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that corrective measures are taken against state officials such as diplomats in case they violate the provisions of the international law. This is because such officials represent the interests of the state in a number of ways. The state is held responsible when its citizen activities violate the provisions of the international law. Finally, a state is expected to take responsibility for crimes committed by private entities, such as the Boeing Company since they also represent the interests of the state. In fact, private companies, including MNCs, are very important because they support the state in a number of ways. This rule is a provision of the customary international law. It is applicable in both intercontinental and non-international armed conflicts. Therefore, the US government should take responsibility for the crimes committed by its soldiers and citizens.

Under rule 149, the US government would be charged for allowing its military to unleash terror on innocent individuals. The international law states that an individual is always innocent unless proved otherwise. The Geneva conventions and the Second Hague Protocol on protection of cultural property assert that the state is always held responsible in case its security agencies are involved in criminal acts. This is based on the idea that security agencies implement the policies set by the policy makers. Some security officers may perhaps go against the American military code of conduct by harassing suspects and even injuring them. However, the international law provides that the state should take responsibility even in cases involving such scenarios. For the case of Boeing Company, the US government should take responsibility because the company is simply used as a transport means (Whitlock 6).

Rendition is a violation of human rights because it entails forceful transfer of an individual from his or her country of origin to a different state with different laws. While in foreign states, an individual is exposed to torture because security agencies apply harsh interrogation tactics that are inconsistent with the norms of the suspect. In some occasions, suspects are forced to admit crimes because of torture.

From a personal perspective, rendition should be employed in the international system because of the increasing cases of terrorism. In some countries, strong individuals in government support terrorism meaning that it would be difficult to obtain valid information from terrorists. It is claimed that a number of Middle East states support terrorism. This means that government officials alleged to support terrorism cannot cooperate fully in implementing terrorism policies. Therefore, arrested individuals should be taken to other states.

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Works Cited

Hooper, Jopper. “CIA methods exposed by kidnap inquiry.” The Guardian UK. 2005. Web.

Johnston, David. “U.S. Says Rendition to Continue, but With More Oversight.” The New York Times. 2012. Web.

Whitlock, Craig. “Europeans Probe Secret CIA Flights.” The Washington Post 17. 2005. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "International Law and CIA Rendition." January 1, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "International Law and CIA Rendition." January 1, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'International Law and CIA Rendition'. 1 January.

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