State Secrets and Human Rights: Pre and Post-September 11

This paper is aimed at addressing the abuse of the State Secrets Privilege in the post- September 11 world.  When emergency calls and fear advances, governments tend to resort to the label of “State Secrets” to avoid imputability for their actions and choices which are often arguable.  Going through the recent Italian Abu Omar case and the American EL-Masri case, this paper will demostrate that an excessive overuse of the old institute of State Secrets and its upturning to pursue governmental interests has led to gross abuses of democrary, rules of law and fundamental human rights.  When national States, terrified by international terrorism attacks, are unable and unwilling to respect the rights of the people while struggling to ensure security and control, international law steps in and fills the tremendous gaps left open by national law and jurisprudence.  Specifically, to face governments abusing of the concept of State Secrets Privilege and resorting to it as a shield against the truth, international courts and UN-bodies have resorted to the concept of Right to the Truth and has strengthened it in order to break the fence down the and hold governments accountable for their own actions.