Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg said in a statement sent to various media outlets on Monday evening that for the sake of transparency, he will provide materials that support his allegations that Romania indeed hosted a secret CIA detention centre. The statement came as earlier on Monday, Hammarberg had called on Lithuania, Poland and Romania to clarify their role in the American Central Intelligence Agency’s secret detention and extraordinary rendition programme. Hammarberg said a CIA black site was opened near Bucharest on September 23, 2003 and the intelligence agency conducted operations in the country for over two years after that.
“I find it encouraging that the article I published today regarding European co-operation with the US Central Intelligence Agency has generated such interest in Romania. Grave human rights violations were committed in the course of counter-terrorism operations following the heinous 9/11 attacks. It is crucial that these abuses are thoroughly investigated, and that accountability is established. Romania too has its part to play,” the CoE official said in his statement. He explained that he reached his conclusions by carefully analysing every piece of information about CIA operations, ranging from press reports to official inquiries and leaks from CIA sources. “Based on this substantial body of source material, I have come to the conclusion that a CIA ‘Black Site’ did exist on Romanian territory, beginning in September 2003. CIA rendition aircraft consistently landed in Bucharest for more than two years, coinciding with the transfers of CIA detainees,” Hammarberg added.
Romanian authorities had no response to Hammarberg’s allegations on Monday, but asked to comment on the matter by Agence France Presse, the Foreign Ministry in Bucharest said all charges were ungrounded. “The credibility and truthfulness of information and sources, as taken over in Hammarberg’s comment, cannot be verified,” the ministry said, according to Mediafax. “Romania has no information to confirm the existence of secret CIA detention centres on its territory”, MAE told AFP.