March 09, 2010

Not far to render

Canadian Press:

In some cases the spy agency would recommend which prisoners should be transferred to the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan's notorious intelligence service, which has a dismal human rights record.

"I'm speaking about rendition, yes," [NDP leader Jack] Layton said outside the Commons.

I'm not quite sure how one renders someone TO their country of residence, but never mind that.

The Afghans I worked with made no real distinction between the NDS and the police, any more than we would make a distinction between police detectives and beat cops. They were not seen as separate agencies that way; if the Afghan police took someone into custody that meant the NDS had access to them, and vice versa. "We turned them over to the NDS," and "We handed them over to the Afghan justice system" seemed to be effectively and functionally equivalent statements.

The NDS from the perspective of the ANA headquarters I worked at, like it or not, was the only investigative arm of the Afghan justice system involved with insurgency. Its personnel played a role in all insurgency-related arrest cases, and appeared to have full access to any detained and accused insurgents awaiting a court disposition. Their jurisdiction in this regard was unquestioned or universal: their assuming eventual custody of all insurgent-related detainees held by the army or police was simply standard procedure. To say that we should have kept our detainees away from the NDS is to say we should have kept them away from the Afghan justice system altogether.

Posted by BruceR at 11:00 PM