Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Look Out Obama, Now The US May Be Guilty Of War Crimes

Israel has the Goldstone Report.
Sri Lanka may be facing the same.

And now, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston has a problem with the US using drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

(Is it my imagination, or does the UN have as many Special Rapporteurs as Obama has Czars? )

"My concern is that drones/Predators are being operated in a framework which may well violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law," he said.

US strikes with remote-controlled aircraft against Al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan have often resulted in civilian deaths and drawn bitter criticism from local populations.

"The onus is really on the United States government to reveal more about the ways in which it makes sure that arbitrary extrajudicial executions aren't in fact being carried out through the use of these weapons," he added.

Alston said he presented a report on the matter to the UN General Assembly.
Ed Morrissey points out that in the article, the AFP mentions collateral civilian deaths, implying that is part of the issue, while Alston himself does not mention that issue. He notes:
The UN is concerned with whether the US has justification for killing Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders, not whether we got the wrong targets. “Summary executions” mean that we have not provided these poor dears with proper due process to determine whether they should have been killed at all. It takes the law-enforcement approach to its natural, absurd conclusion, which is that armies are really nothing more than police officers with cooler weapons.
The article concludes with 3 points of accountability that Alston is demanding from the US:

"I would like to know the legal basis upon which the United States is operating, in other words... who is running the program, what accountability mechanisms are in place in relation to that," Alston said.

"Secondly, what precautions the United States is taking to ensure that these weapons are used strictly for purposes consistent with international humanitarian law.

"Third, what sort of review mechanism is there to evaluate when these weapons have been used? Those are the issues I'd like to see addressed," the UN official said.

Can we expect UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston to be making similar demands of Hamas?

And if not--why not?

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