Tuesday, October 22, 2013

U.S. drone strikes violate international law

English: Air Force officials are seeking volun...
The United States government has carried out some targeted airstrikes against alleged terrorists in Yemen and violated international law, says a new report released by Human Rights Watch Tuesday.

The organization's 97-page report examines six incidents, most using armed drones, from 2009-13. At least 57 civilians died because of the strikes, which killed 82 people.

"The U.S. says it is taking all possible precautions during targeted killings, but it has unlawfully killed civilians and struck questionable military targets in Yemen," said Letta Tayler, who works for the organization and wrote the Between a Drone and Al-Qaeda: The Civilian Cost of U.S. Targeted Killings in Yemen report.

Human Rights Watch researchers spent six weeks in the country interviewing nearly 100 people, including witnesses and relatives, about the strikes.

"Yemenis told us that these strikes make them fear the US as much as they fear Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," said Tayler.

All six attacks either killed civilians indiscriminately, targeted illegitimate military objectives or caused disproportionate civilian deaths, according to the report.

"The bodies were charred like coal - I could not recognize the faces," said Ahmad al-Sabooli, a 23-year old farmer whose mother, father and 10-year-old sister died in one of the attacks.

During these operations, the U.S. government may be using "an overly elastic definition of a fighter who may be lawfully attacked during an armed conflict," said Human Rights Watch in a press release. Read more >>
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