The International Criminal Court's prosecutor on Monday asked for authorization to investigate alleged crimes committed during the armed conflict in Afghanistan, including allegations that suspected terrorists were tortured in a secret detention facility in Lithuania.
© AFP / Scanpix

Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of The Hague court, says in her report that a detention facility in Antaviliai, some 15 kilometres from Vilnius, apparently operated in 2005 and 2006.

"(Detention site) 'Violet' appears to have been located in Antaviliai, Lithuania and was operational from approximately February 2005 until approximately March 2006. During that time at least two victims were allegedly subjected to acts of torture or cruel treatment," she said.

According to the documents, crimes could also have been committed in similar detention facilities in Poland and Romania.

Head of Lithuanian Inquiry: "Only Assumptions"

Arvydas Anušauskas, who back in 2009 headed a Lithuanian parliamentary inquiry into the Central Intelligence Agency's suspected detention facility, says that the prosecutor's report is based on publicly available assumptions, adding that it would be difficult to discover the whole truth without cooperation from the US.

"The information used by her is taken from public sources and in these public sources, there are no explicit statements based on facts or details -- there are guesses that there could have been two people," he told BNS on Tuesday.

Unlike the US, Lithuania is a party to the ICC's founding Rome Statute and would be obliged to cooperate with the court.

"The key sources are in the US, not in Lithuania. The US is not a signatory to the convention, which poses serious problems to the investigation," Anušauskas said.

He also noted that the US in 2003 abandoned the harshest interrogation techniques that human rights defenders equate to torture.

The ICC is the second international court after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that may look into what happened a decade ago in a building in Antaviliai. The Lithuanian government has told the ECHR that the building housed "an intelligence support centre", not a secret prison.

Lithuanian government officials told the ECHR in the summer of 2016 that what Americans transported to Lithuania a decade ago was communications equipment for an intelligence support centre that was being set up in Antaviliai. The country's deputy justice minister then told the Strasbourg court that "no secret CIA detention centre was in operation in Lithuania".

According to the Lithuanian government, another project mentioned in investigations, a building in Sierakausko Street in Vilnius, was used for "exfiltration of secret collaborators", that is, for moving them to a safe environment.

Valdas Adamkus, who served as Lithuania's president for two terms, in 1998-2003 and 2004-2009, has said on more than one occasion that he is convinced that the CIA did not secretly interrogate detainees in Lithuania.

BNS
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