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Legal Concepts Affecting Detention and Rendition.

Week 6: Legal Concepts Affecting Detention and Rendition.

Question 1.Persons suspected of criminal or terrorist activity may be transferred from one State (i.e., country) to another for arrest, detention, and/or interrogation. Commonly, this is done through extradition, by which one State surrenders a person within its jurisdiction to a requesting State via a formal legal process, typically established by treaty. Far less often, such transfers are effectuated through a process known as “extraordinary rendition” or “irregular rendition.” These terms have often been used to refer to the extrajudicial transfer of a person from one State to another. In this report, “rendition” refers to extraordinary or irregular renditions unless otherwise specified.

Although the particularities regarding the usage of extraordinary renditions and the legal authority behind such renditions are not publicly available, various U.S. officials have acknowledged the practice’s existence. During the Bush Administration, there was controversy over the use of renditions by the United States, particularly with regard to the alleged transfer of suspected terrorists to countries known to employ harsh interrogation techniques that may rise to the level of torture, purportedly with the knowledge or acquiescence of the United States. In January 2009, President Obama issued an Executive Order creating a special task force to review U.S. transfer policies, including the practice of rendition, to ensure compliance with applicable legal requirements. In August, the task force issued recommendations to ensure that U.S. transfer practices comply with applicable standards and do not result in the transfer of persons to face torture. These recommendations include strengthening procedures used to obtain assurances from a country that a person will not face torture if transferred there, and the establishment of mechanisms to monitor the treatment of transferred persons.


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