Extraordinary Rendition and the Torture Convention

66 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2006

See all articles by David Weissbrodt

David Weissbrodt

University of Minnesota Law School

Amy Bergquist

University of Minnesota Law School


Extraordinary Rendition and the Convention Against Torture examines the U.S. policy of abducting terror suspects abroad and transferring them to third countries where they are likely to be subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment. The article notes that extraordinary rendition has evolved from a process by which persons were brought to the U.S. to stand trial, into a means of incapacitating suspects while keeping them out of reach of the U.S. legal system. Part I of this Article describes the Convention Against Torture and its provisions, and then examines the scope of the prohibition on torture under U.S. law. Then Part I demonstrates that extraordinary rendition constitutes a criminal conspiracy to commit torture in violation of federal law and the Convention Against Torture. Part I also addresses the policy justifications for extraordinary rendition and the use of diplomatic assurances to evade criminal liability under the torture statute. Part II examines the domestic and international mechanisms available to address extraordinary rendition, primarily focusing on the use of habeas corpus under U.S. law to challenge extraordinary rendition. The Conclusion addresses the legal climate that led to justifications for extraordinary rendition, and the unintended consequences of the policy for U.S. officials and the global community.

Keywords: extraordinary rendition, rendition, torture, convention against torture, habeas, conspiracy, human rights, diplomatic assurances, terrorism, terrorists

Suggested Citation

Weissbrodt, David and Bergquist, Amy, Extraordinary Rendition and the Torture Convention. Virginia Journal of International Law, Vol. 46, p. 585, 2006; Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-39. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=925880

David Weissbrodt (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Amy Bergquist

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-625-6084 (Phone)

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