Friday, June 22, 2012

Obama U.S. Drone Strikes' Coulde Be War Crimes' And Set Risky Precedent - UN

The use of drone strikes by the US to combat terrorism flouts international law and may encourage other nations to follow suit, a UN rapporteur says. He stressed that some of the attacks may constitute war crimes.
Christof Heyns, the UN special investigator on extrajudicial killings told a UN conference in Geneva that the US needs to be held legally accountable for the use of armed drones.
"Are we to accept major changes to the international legal system which has been in existence since World War Two and survived nuclear threats?" he said.
He also requested that the Obama administration publish statistics on the number of civilian deaths caused by strikes on suspected terror leaders in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.
“I don’t think we have the full answer to the legal framework, we certainly don’t have the answer to the accountability issues,” he told reporters at the UN Human Rights Council meeting.
He underlined the fact that recent US drone strikes threatened the rule of international law in that many “targeted killings take place far from areas where it's recognized as being an armed conflict." Heyns added that drone strikes may be legally justifiable in conflict zones such as Afghanistan. more