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UN investigator warns US on use of drones

#1
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091028/ap_on_re_us/un_un_extrajudicial_killings

A U.N. human rights investigator warned the United States Tuesday that its use of unmanned warplanes to carry out targeted executions may violate international law.

Philip Alston said that unless the Obama administration explains the legal basis for targeting particular individuals and the measures it is taking to comply with international humanitarian law which prohibits arbitrary executions, "it will increasingly be perceived as carrying out indiscriminate killings in violation of international law."

Alston, the U.N. Human Rights Council's investigator on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, raised the issue of U.S. Predator drones in a report to the General Assembly's human rights committee and at a news conference afterwards, saying he has become increasingly concerned at the dramatic increase in their use, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan, since June.
...
Alston, a law professor at New York University ... said the U.S. should provide details on use of drones, disclose what precautions it takes to ensure the unmanned aircraft are used strictly for purposes consistent with international humanitarian law, and what measures exist to evaluate what happened when their weapons have been used.

"Otherwise, you have the really problematic bottom line -- which is that the Central Intelligence Agency is running a program which is killing significant numbers of people, and there is absolutely no accountability in terms of the relevant international laws," he said.
 
#6
CRmeansCeilingReached said:
much worse than carrying out vicious and illegal torture on suspects, then obliterating the evidence (bodies) with IEDs, eh sergei? :) *cough* Chechnya *cough*
It is not a question of what is bad and what is worse. The respected American professor seggests that the drone attacks could constitute a violation of international law.

Just imagine that this point of view was accepted in the UK (why not?). In this case some (acting or retired) American generals could be detained in Britain and tried.

Let's recall the cases with Pinochet, with Israeli generals who dare not to arrive to Great Britain.

Btw, do you agree that the problen exists?
 
#8
Oil_Slick said:
Russians still sulking because they don't have them?
These drones are useless against more or less doable army with jet fighters and anti-aircraft system.

Would for example drones be used against Iran? Maybe but with predictable result.

As for wars with guerillas then ordinary planes would be no less effective but less expensive.
 
#9
CRmeansCeilingReached said:
nope. they're just twatting terrorists :roll:
Karadzic could say that in Srebrenica he was twatting terrorists and at least partially he would be right.

Suppose that suspected terrorists are hiding in the UK and a foreign state strikes their hideouts (killing innocent British subjects). Would you oppose it? (note, that British government condemn these strikes).
 
#10
KGB_resident said:
Oil_Slick said:
Russians still sulking because they don't have them?
These drones are useless against more or less doable army with jet fighters and anti-aircraft system.

Would for example drones be used against Iran? Maybe but with predictable result.

As for wars with guerillas then ordinary planes would be no less effective but less expensive.

Yes Ivan, you boys keep telling yourselves that. :D
 
#11
KGB_resident said:
Oil_Slick said:
Russians still sulking because they don't have them?
These drones are useless against more or less doable army with jet fighters and anti-aircraft system.

Would for example drones be used against Iran? Maybe but with predictable result.

As for wars with guerillas then ordinary planes would be no less effective but less expensive.
With respect to the good professor, the view on the "legality" of drones is very much a mixed bag with even Human Rights Watch officials acknowledging that drones are perhaps one of the most discriminating and precise air-delivered weapon systems in the NATO tool kit.

In addition, it has been documented that the Taliban, AQ and others have a very active information warfare campaign against the drones that seeks to take advantage of every civilian death associated with drones and indeed their tactics often intentionally include commingling of legitimate targets with non-combatants or otherwise using them in ways to cause non-combatant deaths. The reason for this is due to the drone's effectiveness.
 
#12
KGB_resident said:
CRmeansCeilingReached said:
nope. they're just twatting terrorists :roll:
Karadzic could say that in Srebrenica he was twatting terrorists and at least partially he would be right.
cracking assessment. and you wonder why your services were no longer required? :(

Suppose that suspected terrorists are hiding in the UK and a foreign state strikes their hideouts (killing innocent British subjects). Would you oppose it? (note, that British government condemn these strikes).
*yawn* at least make up your mind what point you want to argue. you said earlier it was about "the legal basis for targeting particular individuals and the measures it is taking to comply with international humanitarian law which prohibits arbitrary executions". i.e. the issue is using UAVs to kill specific individuals. :roll:

occasionally i forget how boring it is discussing things with you, and i join in one of your threads again. then i quickly remember why i got sick of it last time :roll:
 
#14
CRmeansCeilingReached said:
KGB_resident said:
CRmeansCeilingReached said:
nope. they're just twatting terrorists :roll:
Karadzic could say that in Srebrenica he was twatting terrorists and at least partially he would be right.
cracking assessment. and you wonder why your services were no longer required? :(

Suppose that suspected terrorists are hiding in the UK and a foreign state strikes their hideouts (killing innocent British subjects). Would you oppose it? (note, that British government condemn these strikes).
*yawn* at least make up your mind what point you want to argue. you said earlier it was about "the legal basis for targeting particular individuals and the measures it is taking to comply with international humanitarian law which prohibits arbitrary executions". i.e. the issue is using UAVs to kill specific individuals. :roll:

occasionally i forget how boring it is discussing things with you, and i join in one of your threads again. then i quickly remember why i got sick of it last time :roll:
Anyway I thank you for your contribution to the discussion. I dare to note that the words that you quoted don't belong to your abedient servant, but to the professor.

Sickness is a troublesome state. 400-500 ml of vodka could help. bigger quantity could make you sick again.
 
#15
KGB_resident said:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091028/ap_on_re_us/un_un_extrajudicial_killings

A U.N. human rights investigator warned the United States Tuesday that its use of unmanned warplanes to carry out targeted executions may violate international law.

Philip Alston said that unless the Obama administration explains the legal basis for targeting particular individuals and the measures it is taking to comply with international humanitarian law which prohibits arbitrary executions, "it will increasingly be perceived as carrying out indiscriminate killings in violation of international law."

Alston, the U.N. Human Rights Council's investigator on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, raised the issue of U.S. Predator drones in a report to the General Assembly's human rights committee and at a news conference afterwards, saying he has become increasingly concerned at the dramatic increase in their use, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan, since June.
...
Alston, a law professor at New York University ... said the U.S. should provide details on use of drones, disclose what precautions it takes to ensure the unmanned aircraft are used strictly for purposes consistent with international humanitarian law, and what measures exist to evaluate what happened when their weapons have been used.

"Otherwise, you have the really problematic bottom line -- which is that the Central Intelligence Agency is running a program which is killing significant numbers of people, and there is absolutely no accountability in terms of the relevant international laws," he said.

Hmm, then maybe we should go back to carpet bombing as that is clearly within international laws.... We wouldn't to single out enemy combatants cause then that's an execution and not targeting an enemy military asset ie: leadership.

We just have to go back to kill em all, let the UN sort em out.
 
#16
CRmeansCeilingReached said:
much worse than carrying out vicious and illegal torture on suspects, then obliterating the evidence (bodies) with IEDs, eh sergei? :) *cough* Chechnya *cough*
Thank god- for a moment I thought you were talking about the falklands.
 
#17
I hate to say this but Sergy and his professor have a point.

In reality drones are a very effective means of targeting HVT in an area that the US is not supposed to have manned combat aircraft in. Yes they have been used to good effect check out the LWJ for a list of those that are no longer with us.

On the flip side there is a lack of accountability in AFG CIVCAS is the big cry, we are here to protect the population, but over the border in the non ISAF, non NATO, but joint PAKMIL/US operation the gloves are off.

There is no doubt that in cases that many civilians have been killed but that is an issue for Gov't of Pakistan, the Drones controlling Agency and the UN to discuss.

Anyway Uncle Sam is the biggest kid on the block, and just following orders may will keep the UN at bay (especially when you remember the US bank rolls it and has not signed up to the ICC :twisted: ).
 
#18
The reason it is becoming an issue is precisely because the drone attacks are being effective.

I'd be more than happy for drones to remove some of our own terrorists rather than spend the millions we do keeping an eye on them.

Targetted assasination works, we should be upping the ante and telling the terrorist sympathising human rights groups to do one.
 
#19
ghost_us said:
KGB_resident said:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091028/ap_on_re_us/un_un_extrajudicial_killings

A U.N. human rights investigator warned the United States Tuesday that its use of unmanned warplanes to carry out targeted executions may violate international law.

Philip Alston said that unless the Obama administration explains the legal basis for targeting particular individuals and the measures it is taking to comply with international humanitarian law which prohibits arbitrary executions, "it will increasingly be perceived as carrying out indiscriminate killings in violation of international law."

Alston, the U.N. Human Rights Council's investigator on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, raised the issue of U.S. Predator drones in a report to the General Assembly's human rights committee and at a news conference afterwards, saying he has become increasingly concerned at the dramatic increase in their use, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan, since June.
...
Alston, a law professor at New York University ... said the U.S. should provide details on use of drones, disclose what precautions it takes to ensure the unmanned aircraft are used strictly for purposes consistent with international humanitarian law, and what measures exist to evaluate what happened when their weapons have been used.

"Otherwise, you have the really problematic bottom line -- which is that the Central Intelligence Agency is running a program which is killing significant numbers of people, and there is absolutely no accountability in terms of the relevant international laws," he said.

Hmm, then maybe we should go back to carpet bombing as that is clearly within international laws.... We wouldn't to single out enemy combatants cause then that's an execution and not targeting an enemy military asset ie: leadership.

We just have to go back to kill em all, let the UN sort em out.
"


Just a minor point but "carpet bombing" of the type undertaken in WWII is not legal now.
 
#20
Duke_of_Kaos said:
I hate to say this but Sergy and his professor have a point.

In reality drones are a very effective means of targeting HVT in an area that the US is not supposed to have manned combat aircraft in. Yes they have been used to good effect check out the LWJ for a list of those that are no longer with us.

On the flip side there is a lack of accountability in AFG CIVCAS is the big cry, we are here to protect the population, but over the border in the non ISAF, non NATO, but joint PAKMIL/US operation the gloves are off.

There is no doubt that in cases that many civilians have been killed but that is an issue for Gov't of Pakistan, the Drones controlling Agency and the UN to discuss.

Anyway Uncle Sam is the biggest kid on the block, and just following orders may will keep the UN at bay (especially when you remember the US bank rolls it and has not signed up to the ICC :twisted: ).
Good observations. As I noted in an earlier post, I contend that in general (we all need to remember that even our vaunted "gee whiz" technology is not idiot proof and mistakes do occur) the reality is that it is not a lack of accountability or other failure on the part of the US or its allies. The real problem is rather one of perceptions etc. that are in large part "managed" by a fairly effective information warfare campaign by our opponents, both in theater and around the world, aided by an all to willing media that provides ample platforms for the disinformation.
 

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