Germany's Involvement in Extraordinary Renditions and Its Responsibility under International Law

in German Politics and Society

This article investigates Germany's role in CIA "extraordinary renditions" of terrorist suspects, focusing on two cases involving German citizens of Middle Eastern descent (Khaled el-Masri and Mohammed Zammar), and one case of an Egyptian cleric who had resided in Italy and was likely transferred to Egypt via a U.S. military airport in Germany (Abu Omar). Amid recent revelations about the extent of the CIA program for transferring and interrogating terrorism suspects, the question of Germany's potential responsibility under international law has gained public attention. Against the background of international legal rules governing responsibility of assisting states, this article examines what was known in Germany about human rights abuses in the above cases and evaluates official steps taken by the government to prevent or uncover violations. In the conclusion, the article addresses the need for increased institutional safeguards to hinder German involvement in questionable U.S. counterterrorism practices.