Victims Could Sue for Human Rights
in European Court of Justice
Interview with human rights lawyer GeorgNolte
Spiegel" -- -- The secret prisoner transports of the
CIA create an uncomfortable situation for several members of the old
(*the new one is in for a week) German administration. The Munich
human rights attorney Georg Note speaks with Spiegel Online about
Germany's responsibility and possible repercussions of the affair.
Spiegel Online: US Sec. of State Conoleeza Rice spoke of possible
mistakes in relationship to the secret CIA prisoner transports, but
at the same time emphasized that the US is a constitutional
democracy that meets its international responsibilities. What kind
of human rights problems do the secret flights raise?
Nolte: The USA ratified the UN pact for civil and political rights
as well as the UN convention against torture and other brutal,
inhumane and demeaning punishment or treatment. Thus they are
obligated under international law to respect the rights within the
scope contained in the framework of the contracts.
Spiegel Online: And the role of Germany . would the administration
have made itself complicit if it had tolerated the infringement of
human rights of prisoners in its sovereign territory?
Nolte: According to Article 1 of the European Human Rights
Convention Germany is obligated to guarantee the rights and freedoms
stipulated in the conventions to all persons under its sovereignty.
This is defined as responsibility as far as possible to also prevent
for human rights abuses by third parties in its sovereign territory.
Spiegel Online: What could be the consequences?
Nolte: Every person who considers himself to have been the victim of
an abuse of human rights which could be attributed to Germany, after
exhausting all national legal processes, can file a suit at the
European Court of Justice.
Spiegel Online: Would the German government be in a position to
avoid giving the US landing and over-flight rights, or does this
NATO partner have far reaching rights? What rights do the Americans
have in Germany?
Nolte: Military flights "within the framework of German law" are
allowed according to the Article 57 of the NATO troop statute
supplementary agreement. Other flights must be approved.
Spiegel Online: Is German sovereignty put in question as a result of
the CIA actions?
Spiegel Online: German sovereignty is always affected when other
States do not respect German law within Germany. Whether this has
occurred must be determined on a case by case basis.
The interview was held by Björn Hengst
Copyright Der Spiegel
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