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'The Happy Hunting Ground of Europe?' A New Framework to Hold European Union Member States Accountable for Human Rights Violations Committed in the Counterterrorism Operation of 'Extraordinary Rendition'

Sarah Cunningham

The European Union is experiencing a crisis of legitimacy. While on the one hand it (increasingly) portrays itself as a beacon of human rights, on the other it has repeatedly demonstrated an unwillingness or inability to demand the same standards of its Member States. A topical example of this hypocrisy is the case of 'extraordinary rendition.' A 2013 report would document the involvement of 18 Member States in the counterterrorism operation, and its resultant human rights violations. Yet, despite the urging of the European Parliament, to date no Member State has been held to account by the EU.It is proposed to develop a new framework of accountability within the EU for human rights violations committed by its Member States. Using existing Union mechanisms (two legal and one political), these are applied to the practice of extraordinary rendition and it is hypothesised that this is a method by which to seek accountability from Member States that have hereto not been held responsible. This, it is proposed, could rectify the EU's legitimacy crisis, as it is finally seen to practice what it preaches.

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