Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Other Nightmares from the War on Terror

49 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2007 Last revised: 11 Sep 2020

See all articles by Leila N. Sadat

Leila N. Sadat

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law; Yale Law School

Date Written: January 1, 2007


This article examines the U.S. practice of extraordinary rendition, a method of transferring detainees abroad for detention and interrogation either from the United States, on behalf of the United States, or from occupied Iraq. It concludes that rendition does not comply with either international human rights norms or the laws of war. The article examines the Nuremberg consensus arrived at following the Second World War, which provided for individual criminal responsibility for the commission of crimes under international law, and suggests that following the Nuremberg principles would be more effective than extralegal government activity. The article disputes the propositions of conservative government lawyers and their academic surrogates that Geneva law is now either quaint or obsolete; instead, it argues that the government has made what is, at best, a tenuous case that Geneva law and international human rights norms are inconvenient. If the administration is sincere in its claim that new international legal paradigms must be adopted in order to successfully combat the scourge of international terrorism, the appropriate vehicle to do so would be the establishment of new multilateral regimes that attract broad international support, not creative are interpretations of the law that are patently inconsistent with prior U.S. and international understandings.

Keywords: international law, extraordinary rendition, ghost detainees, international human rights law, laws of war, military commissions act, torture, terrorism, al qaeda, September 11th, CIA black sites, international humanitarian law

Suggested Citation

Sadat, Leila N., Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Other Nightmares from the War on Terror (January 1, 2007). George Washington University Law Review, Vol. 75, No. 1200, 2007, Washington U. School of Law Working Paper No. 07-08-01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1008568

Leila N. Sadat (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
314-935-6411 (Phone)
314-935-5356 (Fax)

Yale Law School ( email )

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3143042757 (Phone)

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