GENEVA — A UN investigator has called on the Obama administration to justify its policy of assassinating rather than capturing al-Qaeda or Taliban suspects, increasingly by using unmanned drone aircraft that also kill civilians.
Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extra judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, urged Washington to clarify the basis under international law of the policy, in a 28-page report to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.
The U.S. military has conducted drone attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, said Mr. Heyns, a South African jurist.
“Disclosure of these killings is critical to ensure accountability, justice and reparation for victims or their families.
“The [U.S.] government should clarify the procedures in place to ensure that any targeted killing complies with international humanitarian law and human rights and indicate the measures or strategies applied to prevent casualties, as well as the measures in place to provide prompt, thorough, effective and independent public investigation of alleged violations.”