London/Madrid, 2 December 2011 - International aviation organisation Eurocontrol is refusing to release crucial evidence relating to the CIA’s illegal renditions programme, despite formal requests to do so by legal action charity Reprieve and pro-transparency group Access Info Europe.
Eurocontrol is made up of 39 European states which fund its half billion Euro budget; 34 of these are bound by national freedom of information laws. Eurocontrol, however, appears to consider itself above the laws which apply to its members when it comes to disclosure of information – even when it relates to serious criminal acts such as the renditions programme.
On 30 November 2011, Reprieve and Access Info Europe wrote to the Director General of Eurocontrol, asking him to reconsider its denial of access to flight planning information vital to renditions accountability.
In the past, Eurocontrol has made a significant positive contribution to the struggle for renditions accountability, disclosing portions of its records to the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the Danish parliament. Thanks to these disclosures, flight logs for dozens of planes, contracted by the CIA to perform sometimes illegal missions, have become available.
This good track record is now at risk if Eurocontrol continues, with no legal basis, to deny access to records for another 54 planes. These planes were unidentified at the time earlier requests were made, and represent new insights into the renditions programme, particularly in its later stages.
Reprieve investigator Crofton Black said: “Eurocontrol may pay lip service to transparency, but in reality it is now covering up crucial evidence on the CIA rendition programme. It has the necessary information and it is able to disclose it. Will it step up and do the right thing? The clock is ticking.”
Access Info Europe’s campaign coordinator Lydia Medland said: “Consistent with European and international human rights law, Eurocontrol should now make a review of the information that they hold, and consider the public interest in this case.”
A copy of the letter sent to Eurocontrol can be found on Access Info’s website here.