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 some controversy as to the usage 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.

Below are documents and reports which talk about, mention are refer to “Extraordinary Rendition.”


Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports

blank Extradition To and From the United States: Overview of the Law and Recent Treaties, 03 August 2007 [50 Pages, 0.35MB]

blank Renditions: Constraints Imposed by Laws on Torture, 05 April 2006 [26 Pages, 0.2MB]

blank Renditions: Constraints Imposed by Laws on Torture, 12 October 2007 [31 Pages, 0.3MB]

blank Renditions: Constraints Imposed by Laws on Torture, 22 Jan 2009 [28 Pages, 0.4MB]

blank Undisclosed U.S. Detention Sites Overseas: Background and Legal Issues [25 Pages, 0.6MB] – President Bush’s announcement on September 6, 2006, that 14 “high-value detainees” suspected of terrorist activity have been transferred from locations abroad to the U.S. detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station confirmed the existence of secret U.S. prison facilities abroad, the subject of previously unsubstantiated media allegations and investigations by foreign governments and human rights bodies. The Bush Administration had neither admitted nor denied the allegations, but had defended the longstanding practice of transporting terrorist suspects to other countries through a process known as extraordinary rendition. The Administration has reserved the option of establishing overseas prisons to hold and interrogate terrorist suspects that may be captured in the future.


Extraordinary Rendition Reports

blank Combating Terrorism: The Legality, Utility and Morality of Coercion, 2012 [96 Pages, 0.6MB] –

blank Rendition Lawfare, 30 April 2007 [96 Pages, 0.6MB] – Rendition refers to the practice of capturing and transferring terrorism suspects from one nation to another for interrogation without extradition or removal proceedings. There is no opportunity for the suspect to challenge the accuracy or legitimacy of the process. It has spurred a maelstrom of criticism across Europe and from human rights groups within the United States. Almost all of the literature has evaluated the practice under human rights law or a mixed model using both human rights law and the laws of war. The proper legal standard, however, are the laws of war. Under the laws of war, the legality of rendition hinges on the particular facts. Concerning capture, the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) permits an aggressive approach, even if it means violating sovereignty and international law. But once capture occurs, the War Crimes Statute, as revised by the Military Commissions Act, requires strict adherence to the laws of war, placing significant restrictions on the transfer and treatment of the suspects. To set a proper example for the world and stay within the rule of law, the United States should significantly revise the transfer and treatment aspects of rendition.


Master Theses, Military War Colleges

blank The Global War on Terrorism: America’s Jihad, 25 March 2008 [33 Pages, 0.4MB] – The United States of America is engaged in struggle against Islamic extremism, defined as a global war on terrorism by the Bush administration, in the wake of the terrifying events of 9/11. This phrase has been identified with U.S. policy and national security strategy decisions that are perceived as either critical to long term U.S. national interests or as an affront to America’s traditional values, depending on the perspective of the beholder. The global war on terrorism has been coined as a strategy in the fight against terrorism, a declaration of war against Al Qaeda and Islamic extremism, a legal term for the purpose of leveraging war powers, and a pre-text for strategic and foreign policy decisions. This project examines the terminology from these perspectives and assesses its significance as a strategic approach, its impacts on U.S. government and society, and a potential way ahead for success in this global struggle faced by America today.

blank Policy for Treatment of Detainees by the United States Military, 15 March 2006 [21 Pages, 0.2MB] – Public Law No. 109-148 was enacted in December 2005. This law prohibits torture and cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment of detainees held by officials of the United States. Does this law establish the correct position on the treatment of detainees? What should the policy be for the treatment of persons detained by the United States military during the war on terrorism, and how does it affect the larger war on terrorism? This paper will provide historical background information, analyze the implications of this information, review U.S. policy for the treatment of detainees, and recommend a policy for the treatment of detainees.

blank Regaining the Moral High Ground on Gitmo…is there a Basis for released Guantanamo Detainees to Receive Reparations? [150 Pages, 0.9MB] – In an attempt to protect the U.S. following the horrific events of September 11th and to conduct the Global War on Terrorism, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base was established. Yet the continued operation of the facility, implementation of legislative and executive policies, and the denial of universal human rights for these detainees are in conflict with U.S. ideals and international law. Furthermore, this facility and its policies question U.S. commitment to human rights, American principles and democratic values. To protect the U.S. during a similar time of national emergency (World War II), the U.S. implemented Japanese Internment. Forty years later reparations were given to those subjected to this policy. Is there a basis for released Guantanamo detainees to receive reparations, also? The U.S. is the standard bearer for democracy and individual rights in the world. The mainstream debates surrounding Guantanamo Bay neglect examination of a basis for released detainees to receive conciliation. This thesis explores aspects of this debate.

blank US Foreign Policy’s Role in Homeland Security: The Egyptian Case, December 2011 [107 Pages, 0.9MB] – This thesis presents an analysis of United States (U.S.) foreign policy in Egypt during the rule of Hosni Mubarak. It examines the role of U.S. foreign aid and the policy of extraordinary rendition in the perpetuation of Mubarak’s authoritarian regime. The research relates the negative externalities associated with these policies to radicalization theory and illustrates how U.S. foreign policy impacts homeland security. Complementary to this discussion, the thesis examines the nature of political Islam in order to challenge the perspective that it is an ideological rival of democracy and to illustrate its role as a stabilizing force in Middle Eastern governments and U.S. national security. Lastly, the research reveals the imbalance of power in the U.S. government contributing to foreign policy that is inconsonant with the proliferation of democracy and the promotion of human rights.

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