Gardai now have the Evidence to Investigate Human Rights Violations and Other Possible Breaches of International Law at Shannon

In response to repeated requests for information linking aircraft at Shannon Airport to human rights abuse and war crimes, Shannonwatch are today providing the Gardai with evidence and supporting material to help them investigate violations of international and national law at the airport. While some of this information is already in the public domain, Shannonwatch are also making available details of specific aircraft which have been linked to renditions and covert munitions transportation from their own detailed records.

The body of evidence presented to the Gardai concerns the use of Shannon airport for refuelling aircraft associated with the CIA rendition programme and with war crimes committed in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. This evidence is been made available on the eve of the eight anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war. Much of it is based on the ongoing efforts of activists to monitor and record suspect renditions aircraft and military-related traffic through Shannon over those eight years.

The information presented to the Gardai includes a list of aircraft that have at one time or another been linked to the U.S. renditions programme. These include 20 that have been recorded at Shannon over the last eight years. “Some of these are frequent visitors to the airport” said a Shannonwatch spokesperson. “And while many of them may not now be in use by CIA rendition crews, the fact that they have not been adequately investigated means that it is still possible for them or other aircraft to be used to commit breaches of international law”.

At the press conference that preceded the presentation of evidence, Ray Murphy of Amnesty International Ireland said there substantial evidence to suggest that Ireland has played a role in the rendition circuit but that to date the Gardai have been either unwilling or unable to conduct searches and inspections.  “We need an effective reporting, verification and control system put in place immediately. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence must direct the Gardai to act to ensure Ireland complies with its international legal obligations” said Dr. Murphy.

Speaking at the press conference the former United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Denis Halliday, emphasised the humanitarian disasters that are a direct result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Those who were complicit in these wars, including the Irish Government, must be held to account” he said. “It is vital that the new Irish Government prohibits the transit of belligerent U.S. troops through Shannon airport immediately, and focuses Irish foreign policy on genuine humanitarian support for victims of violence and natural disasters."

Shannonwatch are calling on the Gardai to review the evidence presented, and to provide a comprehensive report on the actions that will be taken to ensure Ireland complies with its international legal obligations. If they feel that they cannot for any reason investigate the movement of CIA crews and military goods and personnel through Shannon Airport, they should inform the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence who should immediately ensure they have the necessary powers to act.

The following documents are samples of the evidence provided  to the Gardai:

Overview of Evidence and Supporting Material Presented to Shannon Garda Station

Flight Data relating to Aircraft Landing at Shannon that May be Involved in Human Rights Abuse or War Crimes (2009 and 2010)

 Irish Complicity in CIA Rendition: CIA Plane Movements Through Irish Airports (February 2009)

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