UN Begins Probe Into Drone Attacks

UN To Open Drone Strikes Probe

A UN expert has launched a special investigation into drone warfare and targeted killings, which the US currently relies on as a front-line weapon against al Qaeda militants.

Pakistan is one of the countries who requested the investigation. The country officially opposes US drone attacks on its territory, calling them an infringement on the country’s sovereignty.

It is also believed that Pakistan tacitly approved some of the drone strikes in the past. The Miami Herald reports that Pakistani officials have claimed that drone strikes kill innocent lives, though the US denies this.

The other two countries requesting the UN probe into drone strikes were not named, but they are two permanent members of the UN Security Council. The permanent members Russia, China, United States, France, and Britain.

It is likely that the countries are Russia and China, because France and Britain are allies of the US. The probe will be headed by British lawyer Ben Emmerson, who is the UN rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights.

Al Jazeera notes that Emmerson told them:

“This is not an investigation into the conduct of any particular state. It’s an investigation into the consequence into this form of technology.”

Emmerson stated during a press conference on Thursday that the British government already agreed to cooperate with the investigation. He added that he is “optimistic” the US will do the same. He also requested that the United States release “before and after” videos of the drone strikes and internal reports of those killed, including civilians.

Emmerson believes that countries who use drones have “an international law obligation to establish effective independent and impartial investigations into any drone attack in which it is plausibly alleged that civilian casualties were sustained.”

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