LPAC – October 27, 2012 – President Obama’s killer drone program is about to come under scrutiny from the UN Human Rights Council, announced Ben Emmerson QC, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and implementation of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, during a speech delivered yesterday at Harvard University Law School. Emmerson reported that a dedicated investigative unit will be set up in Geneva to examine the legality of drone attacks in cases where civilians are killed in so-called “targeted” counter-terrorism operations.
Emmerson’s colleague on the Human Rights Council, South African lawyer Christoph Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur for extrajudical killings, issued a report, last summer, sharply critical of the U.S. drone program, and warned that war crimes may have been committed in the process of carrying it out. (emphasis added) At that time, the U.S. representative on the council refused to answer the special rapporteur’s concerns about the legality and the secrecy of the program, and, indeed, the Obama Administration’s attitude has long been that no one, including the American population, has a right to know anything about it, except what the Administration decides to say about it.
Emmerson particularly blasted the U.S. position behind the campaign, the idea that we can target anyone anywhere in the world whom we deem to be a threat. “The global war paradigm has done immense damage to a previously shared international consensus on the legal framework underlying both international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” he said. “It has also given a spurious justification to a range of serious human rights and humanitarian law violations.” Emmerson noted that it has been “alleged that since President Obama took office at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims and more than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. Christof Heyns has described such attacks, if they prove to have happened, as war crimes. I would endorse that view.” Complete article HERE
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