Amnesty: US Drone Deaths Could Be War Crimes
Hits on Pakistani civilians need to be investigated, group warns
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 22, 2013 4:40 AM CDT
Updated Oct 22, 2013 7:42 AM CDT
Pakistani tribal villagers hold a rally to condemn US drone attacks on their villages in border areas along the Afghanistan border.   (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash, File)
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(Newser) – The US should comply with international law and fully investigate reports of civilians killed and wounded by CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, Amnesty International says in a report released today. It provided new details about the alleged victims of such attacks, including a 68-year-old grandmother hit while farming with her grandchildren. In another incident noted by the report—titled "'Will I Be Next?' US Drone Strikes in Pakistan"—witnesses said 18 male laborers with no links to militant groups died when a volley of missiles hit a tent where a group of men had gathered for an evening meal after work, followed by a second round of missiles that killed rescuers.

Amnesty said it is concerned that the attacks outlined in the report and others may have resulted in unlawful killings that constitute extrajudicial executions or war crimes, even though the US insists the strikes are legal. "We cannot find any justification for these killings. There are genuine threats to the USA and its allies in the region, and drone strikes may be lawful in some circumstances," Amnesty International's Pakistan researcher says. "But it is hard to believe that a group of laborers, or an elderly woman surrounded by her grandchildren, were endangering anyone at all, let alone posing an imminent threat to the United States."