US must investigate Pakistan drone strikes: Amnesty

Amnesty International (AI) on Oct. 22 urged the US to conduct a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into allegations that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) drone strikes have resulted in recent civilian casualties in Pakistan. AI reviewed (PDF) more than 50 reported US drone strikes in Pakistan from January 2012 to August 2013, many of which resulted in multiple civilian deaths. AI asserts that, because the US government refuses to provide “accurate information” with respect to specific drone strikes, and its drone program in general, certain CIA operatives may be guilty of arbitrary and extrajudicial executions in violation of international law. According to AI, the US is obligated by international law to fully investigate each strike and ensure that guilty parties are brought to justice.

AI claims:

President Barack Obama and other US officials have stated that the USA does not conduct a strike unless there is “near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.” However, the USA has never described what post-strike investigation standards, protocols and mechanisms exist to systematically verify compliance with this policy standard. It has also failed to commit to conducting investigations into credible allegations of potentially unlawful deaths from Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) drone strikes, in line with its obligations under international law.

In addition, AI urges Pakistani authorities to take steps beyond publicly condemning the US drone program. Specifically AI calls on Pakistan to demand independent and impartial investigations into US drone strikes that may violate human rights, including of any Pakistani officials involved in potential violations.

From Jurist, Oct. 22