Group Threatens Legal Action over Drones

May 15th, 2011 - by admin

Dawn & Associated Press & PresstV – 2011-05-15 15:41:52

Group Threatens Legal Action over Drones
Dawn & Associated Press

LONDON (May 9, 2011) — Reprieve, a human rights group, says it is searching for ways to use the British and American legal system to pursue those behind the drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt.

Reprieve Director Clive Stafford-Smith, a London-based lawyer who has fought for Guantanamo detainees, says there are “endless ways in which the courts in Britain, the courts in America, the international courts and Pakistani courts can get involved” in legal bids to block the drone strikes.

Stafford-Smith gave few details of his proposed legal campaign on Monday, but Reprieve has seen past success in defending those caught up in the US campaign against international terrorism.

The legal advocacy group has represented several Guantanamo Bay detainees, including UK resident Binyam Mohamed.

‘US Drone Attacks in Pakistan Illegal’
PressTV Interview with Political Commentator Chip Pitts

TEHERAN (May 14, 2011) — Pakistan’s parliament has called on the US to put an end to the non-UN-sanctioned drone strikes that have killed many civilians in the Asian country’s tribal regions.

Press TV has interviewed political commentator Chip Pitts to discuss the issue.

Press TV: Sovereignty is a war that’s been thrown around a lot by Pakistan, how much of an effect do such words have coming from the side of Pakistan, and at the end of the day can Pakistan and should Pakistan be protecting its sovereignty?

Pitts: Well of course it should, no nation can survive and in fact no political rulers, legislator or executive can survive, if they don’t protect their nation’s sovereignty. It’s a principle of international law and for good reason it’s been a force for stability throughout history — ever since the Peace Westphalia in 1648 — and with the nation state system.

Now the problem is that if Pakistan consents to a breach of its sovereignty, then the US intrusion will be allowed and of course Pakistan has been planning this double game.

Even in the wake of the attack on bin Laden on one hand, [Pakistan’s] Prime Minister [Yusuf Raza] Gilani in Time magazine’s current issue says that perhaps the drone attacks were ok, if it’s under Pakistan supervision with their involvement in the decision making.

On the other hand, again the people are up in arms about this because of the fear of robotic drones attacking them, you know any people in any nation that were subject to an attack from a foreign nation breaching their nations sovereignty that with robotic drones that can fire missiles and kill them, would be concerned about this and given the ratio of collateral damage, it’s a special concerns in this case because the drones are not quite precise as advertised.

The ratio last time I saw was about 20 terrorists killed for about 750 civilians killed that not a good ratio.

Press TV: The American argument is that we will follow al-Qaeda wherever it goes so then why can’t the US follow al-Qaeda into Pakistan?

Pitts: Well its quite clear it’s a matter of international law and has been frankly for centuries that in order to have the right to breach a nation’s sovereignty you actually have to either the consent of that nation or which is something that is ambiguous in this instance or there can be a limited incursion in recent years in law enforcement actions only.

The idea of a continuing breach over years now, Osama bin Laden’s attack was only the most recent one but of course this has been going on for years. Under [former US] President [George W.] Bush there were many drone attacks and then President [Barack] Obama in the first year doubled them, last year he has doubled them, again to the point where now increasing numbers of civilians are dying.

And so it’s not right to use drones in any nation of the world to attack using military force, it’s clearly illegal under international law.

Those who advocate that approach under the so-called global war against terror have to put aside the classic notions that threat or use of forces are legal only if it’s in a self defense against an armed attack or with the collective security approval of the UN Security Council.

And so they try to wrench this action to an armed attack and of course there is no armed conflict with Pakistan and the idea of al-Qaeda coming from Pakistan and attacking the US does not mean that the US can breach Pakistani sovereignty with impunity.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.