Journal Article

‘Extraordinary Renditions’ and State Obligations to Criminalize and Prosecute Torture in the Light of the <i>Abu Omar</i> Case in Italy

Francesco Messineo

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 7, issue 5, pages 1023-1044
Published in print November 2009 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online December 2009 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jicj/mqp075
‘Extraordinary Renditions’ and State Obligations to Criminalize and Prosecute Torture in the Light of the Abu Omar Case in Italy

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By focusing on the Italian case concerning the ‘extraordinary rendition’ (or in precise legal terms, the abduction) of Mr Abu Omar, this article addresses the obligations states have under the UN Torture Convention to prosecute individuals for torture and complicity in torture occurring as a result of ‘extraordinary renditions’. The article considers the obligation to criminalize complicity in torture and its implementation in Italy. It then analyses the ongoing Italian criminal proceedings concerning the abduction of Mr Abu Omar and concludes that Italy failed to comply with the obligation to prosecute complicity in torture under the Convention for a variety of reasons. In particular, it addresses the issue of ‘state secrecy’, which emerged during the proceedings and was decided upon by the Constitutional Court, and argues that state secrecy cannot be used to avoid compliance with international obligations.

Journal Article.  11646 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law

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