Lithuania's judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said on Wednesday that the Strasbourg-based court's facts on a secret CIA detention site near Vilnius are quite convincing and cannot be contested.
Egidijus Kūris
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

Egidijus Kūris commented on Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis' unexpected announcement that the government will ask the ECHR's Grand Chamber to reconsider the court's ruling that Lithuania hosted a secret CIA prison for terror suspects between 2005 and 2006.

Kūris said that, being a judge, he cannot comment on chances of the Grand Chamber accepting the request. The Lithuanian Justice Ministry has publicly admitted that there are practically no chances.

"It would be interesting for me to see on what grounds that decision will be based. Under the Convention, there are only two criteria for referring a case to the Grand Chamber," the judge told BNS.

"One cannot turn to the Grand Chamber if one thinks that the court misinterpreted the facts," Kūris said.

"I was part of the court that examined the case against Lithuania. I can say that the facts are absolutely convincing," he added.

The Justice Ministry said in a press release last week that Lithuania would not ask for the case to be referred to the Grand Chamber.

It said there was no chance of the request being accepted.

The court ordered Lithuania to pay 130,000 euros in damages to Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi Arabia-born Palestinian, over his unlawful detention in Lithuania.

The 47-year-old man is suspected of involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. Reportedly, he is now being held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay.

The Lithuanian government's representatives told the Strasbourg court that the suspected building in Antaviliai, near Vilnius, was to house an intelligence support center and that the suspected planes had transported communication equipment rather than people to Lithuania.

Skvernelis said that the ruling will be appealed because Lithuania has to be "consistent" in its position.

BNS
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