UN to US: Drone Attacks Could Be Unlawful

Human rights watchdog wants more accountability from CIA in Pakistan
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2009 10:58 AM CDT
Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) A UN human rights watchdog has some strong misgivings about the CIA drone attacks on suspected terrorists in Pakistan that have killed 600 people since last year. "Extralegal executions" are a violation of international law, Philip Alston tells the BBC. “These Predators are being operated in a framework which may well violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” he says. The US says the UN Human Rights Council has no business interfering in an armed conflict.

The US also says it has procedures to deal with unlawful killings, an assurance Alston finds “simply untenable.” The US must be transparent when it comes to possible arbitrary killings, Alston says. “The onus is really on the government of the United States to reveal more about the ways in which it makes sure that arbitrary executions, extrajudicial executions, are not in fact being carried out through the use of these weapons.”