The Abu Omar Case in Italy: 'Extraordinary Renditions' and State Obligations to Criminalize and Prosecute Torture Under the UN Torture Convention

Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 5, pp. 1023-1044, 2009

30 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2009 Last revised: 27 Jul 2010

Francesco Messineo

University of Kent, Canterbury - Kent Law School

Date Written: July 26, 2009

Abstract

This article deals with state obligations under the UN Torture Convention, specifically the criminal prosecution of individuals for torture and complicity in torture incidental to ‘extraordinary renditions’, by focusing on Italy's obligations arising from the abduction of Mr Abu Omar. After addressing what ‘extraordinary renditions’ are and the wider context in which they occurred, the article considers the obligation to criminalize complicity in torture and its implementation in Italy. It then analyzes the ongoing Italian criminal proceedings concerning the abduction of Mr Abu Omar and concludes that they are not an adequate implementation of Italy’s obligation to prosecute complicity in torture under the Convention for a variety of reasons. In particular, it addresses the issue of ‘state secrecy’ which emerged during the proceedings and was decided upon by the Constitutional Court, and argues that it cannot be used to avoid international obligations under the Convention.

Keywords: Abu Omar, extraordinary rendition, torture, torture convention, obligation to prosecute, Italy, international criminal law

JEL Classification: K33, K14

Suggested Citation

Messineo, Francesco, The Abu Omar Case in Italy: 'Extraordinary Renditions' and State Obligations to Criminalize and Prosecute Torture Under the UN Torture Convention (July 26, 2009). Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 5, pp. 1023-1044, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1441206

Francesco Messineo (Contact Author)

University of Kent, Canterbury - Kent Law School ( email )

Kent Law School
Eliot College, The University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NS
United Kingdom

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