US human right activists may legally challenge drone attack policy

June 2nd, 2009 - 6:35 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 2 (ANI): US human rights activists may legally challenge US backed drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which they say take lives of innocent civilians without giving any warning.

“That’s the spooky thing about the predator. Even if the predator is directly overhead and you know it’s overheard, you still can’t see it or hear it. This is kind of like death out of the blue,” The Nation quoted national security and terrorism expert Neil Livingstone as saying.

Gabor Rona, international legal director of HR First, a US-based group that advocates universal rights and freedom, said large number of civilians were being unintentionally hit, harmed and killed.

“This is not only a violation of the international laws of war. It’s bad policy,” he said.

Critics claim that the drones attack policy could be illegal because the laws of war strictly prohibit actions against individuals who are not engaged in hostilities.

“Even when you’re attacking a legitimate military objective, you cannot cause civilian casualties that exceed the value of a legitimate military attack,” Rona says.

More civilians had been killed than actual al-Qaeda terrorists in 16 predator strikes this year. But there’s little chance that could change, The Nation quoted a Fox News report as saying.

“Our military fighting in Afghanistan has got to be able to pursue high level (operatives) who flee across the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan,” said Matt Bennett, a national security expert for a Washington-based think tank.

There’s no formal agreement between the US and Pakistan when it comes to Predator drone attacks, Pakistan more or less looks the other way, he said.

The Predator programme, which is a holdover from the Bush administration, could be the next battle, he added.

“This is part of a broader campaign on the left to begin the drumbeat of withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan generally to change the direction there and make it about only providing aid and not about military engagement,” Bennett said. (ANI)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in South Asia |