Notre Dame varsity academic says US drone strikes illegal

October 22nd, 2010 - 2:38 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban London, October 22 (ANI): A legal expert has strongly criticized the intensified US drone strikes against militants in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries, saying it clearly violate international law and should be halted.

According to Mary Ellen O’Connell, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, the pursuit of al Qaeda and Taliban extremists should rather be a law enforcement issue than a military one.

“The US has no legal right to resort to drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and any countries where it is not involved in armed conflict,” O’Connell said during a debate organized by a leading think tank here on Thursday.

“The use of drones is really testing the public in Pakistan. I really seriously question the necessity for what we are doing,” she added.

She was particularly critical of strikes by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and a haven for militants who use it as a base to attack NATO and Pakistani forces.

According to O’Connell, the drone attacks cannot be justified because there was no open consent from Pakistan. The strikes cannot be taken as an act of war because they are not happening on the Afghan soil, where the US troops are operating, she said.

Meanwhile, Michael Schmitt, an international law professor at Britain’s Durham University, who spent 20 years with the US Air Force, said the strikes were completely within the law of self-defence.

He said it was a valid measure against a new transnational form of combatant.

Though US officials have said the drone strikes were highly effective in the war against al Qaeda and its allies, its legality remains shadowy.
Washington has never publicly acknowledged the existence of the drone programme, but Pakistan has condemned the strikes as a breach of its national sovereignty. (ANI)

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