Right groups accuse US of violating int’l law using drones

Right groups accuse US of violating int’l law using drones
Tue Apr 1, 2014 11:42:18

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accused the United States of massive civilian deaths and potentially grave violations of international law during the drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen.

The report by Amnesty International ("Will I Be Next?") is dedicated to the recent drone strikes in Pakistan, while the Human Rights Watch ("Between a Drone and al-Qaeda") describes the situation in Yemen.

Amnesty International claims that at least one drone strike "violated the prohibition of the arbitrary deprivation of life and may constitute war crimes or extrajudicial execution" and calls to set up a trial and convict those responsible of the inhuman crimes.

However, the White House dismissed all the accusations and denied any wrongdoing in its drone program.

According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, "US counterterrorism operations are precise, they are lawful and they are effective."

Meanwhile some experts believe that Obama’s administration should better distance itself from drone strikes practice instead of justifying the program.

"Realistically, the policy window for reforming how the US conducts lethal counterterrorism strikes is closed in Washington," said US Council on Foreign Relations fellow Micah Zenko, the author of Between Threats and War: US Discrete Military Operations in the Post-Cold War World.

One of the most horrific cases, described in the Amnesty International report, is of Mamana Bibi, a 68-year-old grandmother: she was murdered during a drone strike when she tended her crops in Ghundi Kala, North Waziristan, October 24, 2012:

"She was standing in our family fields gathering okra to cook that evening," recalled Zubair Rehman, one of Mamana Bibi’s grandsons, who was away also working in the fields at the time.

Accustomed to seeing drones overhead, Mamana Bibi and her grandchildren continued their daily routine. "The drone planes were flying over our village all day and night, flying in pairs, sometimes three together. We had grown used to them flying over our village all the time," Zubair Rehman continued.

Then, before her family’s eyes, Mamana Bibi was blown into pieces by at least two Hellfire missiles fired concurrently from a US drone aircraft."

Mamana’s Bibi grandson was injured by the follow-up strikes.

Amnesty International stressed that their study was limited by a lack of transparency considering the drone program from the White House. This situation is common for the overwhelming majority of such investigations, claimed the human rights organization.

It should be noted that earlier this year the Obama administration refused to send a representative for the Senate hearing on drone operations. Commenting on the administration decision Sen. Dick Durbin noted that "more transparency is needed to maintain the support of the American people and the international community."

He insisted that the White House should clarify its position regarding "its legal authority to engage in targeted killings and the internal checks and balances involved in US drone strikes."


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