Another report from Dawn.com on the US using UnPiloted Aircraft (DRONES) to kill suspected individuals on the ground in Pakistan, a country where we have not ever declared war upon, in direct violation of the UN Charter. Below this story, please read Professor Marjorie Cohn’s statement on the US use of Drones and how it is illegal and falls under “crimes against the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions”. You be the judge.
Death by Assassination, the US Drone Policy at work in Pakistan
MIRANSHAH: Missiles fired from a US drone aircraft slammed into a militant compound in the northwest tribal belt on Thursday, killing at least four militants, officials said.
The attack was the fourth US bombing raid since Sunday in North Waziristan district, and hit a stronghold of the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, known for staging attacks on US and Nato troops fighting in Afghanistan.
“The US drone fired two missiles; one hit a compound and another, a vehicle. Four militants were killed in these attacks,” a senior security official told AFP from the northwest city of Peshawar. An intelligence official in Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, confirmed that four militants were killed, adding: “Three of the militants were Afghan militants attached with the Haqqani network.” The strike hit the Dandey Darpa Khel area about five kilometres from Miranshah, which is close to the border with Afghanistan.
North Waziristan, also a stronghold of Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked groups, has seen a surge in drone strikes in the past two months. On Wednesday, a US missile strike killed four insurgents just a few kilometres from the border with the Afghan province of Khost.
Professor Marjorie Cohn outlines the illegal use of Drones by the United States
….Many countries use drones for surveillance, but only the United States and Israel have used them for strikes. Scott Shane wrote in the New York Times, “For the first time in history, a civilian intelligence agency is using robots to carry out a military mission, selecting people for targeted killings in a country where the United States is not officially at war.”
The use of these drones in Pakistan violates both the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit willful killing. Targeted or political assassinations—sometimes called extrajudicial executions—are carried out by order of, or with the acquiescence of, a government, outside any judicial framework. As a 1998 report from the UN Special Rapporteur noted, “extrajudicial executions can never be justified under any circumstances, not even in time of war.” Willful killing is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, punishable as a war crime under the U.S. War Crimes Act. Extrajudicial executions also violate a longstanding U.S. policy. In the 1970s, after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence disclosed that the CIA had been involved in several murders or attempted murders of foreign leaders, President Gerald Ford issued an executive order banning assassinations. Although there have been exceptions to this policy, every succeeding president until George W. Bush reaffirmed that order.
Marjorie Cohn is the immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she teaches criminal law and procedure, evidence, and international human rights law. She lectures throughout the world on human rights and US foreign policy. Click here to go to her website.
UPDATE: From the Long War Journal (full article, click here):
The US carried out the fourth airstrike in five days against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan’s lawless tribal agency of North Waziristan. Unmanned US strike aircraft, the Predators or Reapers, struck a compound and a vehicle in the village of Danda Darpa Khel just outside of Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan. Three members of the dangerous Haqqani Network were among the four terrorists killed.
“The US drone fired two missiles; one hit a compound and another, a vehicle,” a Pakistani intelligence official told AFP. ” “Three of the militants were Afghan militants attached with the Haqqani Network,” another security official told AFP.
The target of the strike has been identified as Siraj Haqqani, the military commander of the network, but there is no evidence that he or any other senior Taliban or al Qaeda leaders were killed. “He was targeted as part of a strike, and we think he might have been hit, but I’m waiting for the DNA tests,” a Pakistani official told Newsweek. “We’ve been trying to kill him for a long time, and he’s escaped before.” An unconfirmed report at Daily Times claimed that Mohammed Haqqani, a brother of Siraj, was among those killed in the attack.
Read some of our past Posts on Assassination Drones here.
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