German prosecutors issue arrest warrants for 13 suspected CIA agents

. . . for the kidnapping and “extraordinary rendition” of Khaled al-Masri, a Lebanese-descended German citizen. See also here.

Are these persons actually CIA agents?

Will any of them be arrested?

If so, will they be tried?

If so, will they be convicted?

If so, will they be punished?

Should they be arrested, tried, etc?

Does Germany have lawful jurisdiction over them?

How will this affect German-American relations?

The Italians did pretty much the same thing a few weeks ago. Pointless gesture. They ain’t gonna arrest anybody, and they ain’t gonna hold any trials. Those agents will stay the hell out of Europe until this blows over.

While I doubt they’ll ever get the guys for trials, I’d disagree that it’s a pointless gesture. It’s a rather pointed gesture. And yeah, if the CIA kidnaps people in a foreign country I’d expect the country in question would have the jurisdiction to try them for it. Why wouldn’t they?

I imagine that the effect in the longer run is that CIA operations will become less easy to arrange.

Truth is that in common with all intelligence agencies, you use the nationals of the country where you are operating to do your work.

I would expect that it will not be as easy to recruit the people of the right calibre.

After all, Germans nationals would be much more willing to co-operate with CIA if they felt that it was pretty much in a common interest, but if they are seen as enemies of their values, that makes it much more difficult.

I agree it sends a strong message that Germany is pissed off about the incident. Can’t say I blame them.

My guess is that these agents will find themselves working outside of Europe until the statute of limitations expires (if there is one under German law). I said it was pointless because the US is not going to hand the agents over.

Well, that’s certainly true. It’s also true that if any of these guys WERE brought in they’d have to be tried just due to public opinion.

If the Germans, Italians, or Canadians were truly irritated about the incidents involved they’d have taken the steps of expelling some of the American diplomatic corps to catch some attention and demand reparations. But they didn’t. They’re angry but not enough to force a real confrontation.

No way.

Of course. There are indications that they commited a crime. Their CIA status doesn’t change that. They would get a chance to defend themselves in a regular trial, just like all other alleged criminals.

As in all cases like this, it depends on who you ask. Under German law the court has jurisdiction over all crimes commited against German citizens as long as the alleged act was illegal where it occured. Of course in practice this only matters when the suspects enter the territory of Germany or third country that recognizes this claim.

This sounds like a German Federal thing, Germany is Federated, so individual States can do things that annoy their central government.

Italy and Spain have something similar, in so far as individual investigators/prosecutors have powers that central government cannot control. That Spain/Chile/UK Pinochet thing was an example.

Beats me why they let him loose in Albania, I would have dumped him in Switzerland, holding the number of a large bank account by way of apology.

OTOH - someone might be sending a message.

But al-Masri was kidnapped on the Serbia-Macedonia border, not in Germany; German jurisdiction, if it lies, would be based on his German citizenship.