Print 68 comment(s) - last by mystikl.. on May 19 at 7:46 AM

Unsatisifed with "grief payments" of a few thousand dollars per dead civilian, Pakistanis demand action

Could the U.S., who perennial accuses its enemies of war crimes soon face those accusations itself before the UN?  That possibility appears increasingly likely following a landmark Pakistani court ruling.

I. Embattled UAV Death Strike Program is Condemned by Court

In the name of fighting terrorism the U.S. has been carrying out a silent war of drone strikes in Pakistan, Qatar, and other Middle Eastern states, order death-strikes on what it say are "terrorists".  But recently released numbers reveal the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) warfare program, largely controlled by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, has a very low succes rate in terms of killing high-profile militants, while having large levels of civilian collateral damage with some strikes killing women and children.

In response four petitions by tribal leaders complaining that U.S. drone strikes were killing civilians, Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and the junior judge on Pakistan two-judge Peshawar High Court panel decided that the drone were war crimes as they killed innocent civilians.

The panel says that the drone strikes were inhumane and violated the UN Charter on Human Rights.  The court is asking the government of Pakistan to push a UN resolution to condemn the strikes and declare them a war crimes, writing [according to translation by The Press Trust of India, "The government of Pakistan must ensure that no drone strike takes place in the future.  If the US vetoes the resolution, then the country should think about breaking diplomatic ties with the US."
Drone Killing
Pakistanis aren't satisifed with the U.S.'s "grief payments" of a few thousand dollars per dead civilian.  [Image Source: Reuters]
Shahzad Akbar, lawyer for victims in the case, is quoted as saying, "This is a landmark judgment. Drone victims in Waziristan will now get some justice after a long wait. This judgment will also prove to be a test for the new government: if drone strikes continue and the government fails to act, it will run the risk of contempt of court."

II. Shift in Pakistani Leadership May Give War Crimes Allegations New Life

So far the Pakistani government, which relies on the U.S. for billions in aid payoffs has been hesitant to declare the U.S. guilty of war crimes.  The U.S. federal government gave $17B USD [source] in 2009 to the governments of Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Pakistan.  Of these nations, Egypt has seen its government overthrown since on allegations of corruption, while Afghanistan has struggled under the weight of similar allegations of sweeping bribery and corruption.  And Pakistan has beenimplicated in sheltering Osama bin Laden, the world's most famous terrorist.

But some foreign observers say regardles of special interests the Pakistani government should not tolerate the civilian deaths.  Comments Clive Stafford Smith of the London-based human rights watchdog group Reprieve, "Today's momentous decision by the Peshawar High Court shines the first rays of accountability onto the CIA's secret drone war."

Some in the U.S. and Britain argue that the strikes are doing little to combat terrorism, and in fact are pushing locals towards terrorism.

In August 2012, a drone strike in Ye
men killed a 40-year-old moderate cleric Salem bin Ahmed bin Ali Jaber just two days after he delivered a speech denouncing al-Qaeda.  The irony is that the al-Qaeda officers who were targeted in the strike, reportedly came into town to threaten Mr. Jaber for his support of the U.S. and pacifistic leanings.

Predator missile
Some feel the President shouldn't have the power to order the warrantless killings of Americans on U.S. soil. [Image Source: Drone Wars UK]

To be fair, U.S. President Obama has claimed a similar authority to kill American "terrorists" without warrant on U.S. soil (although his adminstration tried to cover up that policy).  The administration also does have a policy of paying the family of civilians it kills in the Middle East "grief payments" of a few thousand dollars per body.

While the current administration may be hesistant to take action in the UN against the U.S. elections are fast approaching.  This Saturday's election sees the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party leading in current polls.  Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the party's leader, promises a zero-tolerance policy on drone strike civilian deaths.  He comments, "Drone attacks are against the national sovereignty and a challenge for the country's autonomy and independence."

The U.S. has often accused hostile regimes like the governments of Syria, Sudan, Iran, and North Korea of war crimes in recent years.  However, it has seldom been on the receiving end of such accusations, despite an aggressive (and expensive) overseas military program.

Source: The Independent

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

About F'in TIME
By seraphim1982 on 5/13/2013 11:54:01 AM , Rating: 2
I am so glad people are actually taking a look at this. The UN is totally playing favourites with the US and its allies since 911. IF ANY other countries decided to start using drones to kill SUSPECTED targets in the US and civilians, that would be an immediate declaration of war. The US has used their military industrial complex as a form of intimidation to other countries. Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan, all have been illegal declarations of war. To think of mere thousands of dollars as repayment of the loss of civilian life is so low, its insulting to the victims.

This is the exact reason why I have NO sympathy for the US. Its neo-con foreign policy that has been in place since before the Vietnam Wars, which has led the US to its currents problems. ie. Suddam, Gaddafi, Bin Laden, South America, the list can go on....

RE: About F'in TIME
By mcnabney on 5/13/2013 12:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
We used to send bombers and strike aircraft.

Drones have been a drastic improvement in accuracy and have a far lower impact on civilians.

RE: About F'in TIME
By chris2618 on 5/13/2013 1:34:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yippe we are killing less civilians. Really with today missiles and drones a civilian death should only happen if the pilot gets a twitch in their trigger finger

RE: About F'in TIME
By theapparition on 5/13/2013 2:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
Really you are a complete idiot and have no idea on a topic you speak to.

Do you know what a missiles do? They explode. Even the best tracking systems, that fire on a legitimate hostile threat can cause civilian casualties when they go boom.

Police sometimes take days to get a gunman/hostage situation under control, and not always with a happy ending. But you expect that under real time scenarios, in war, when a high priority target is spotted, that it's still possible to avoid all civilian casualties?


RE: About F'in TIME
By mcnabney on 5/13/2013 3:24:32 PM , Rating: 2
Previous weapon of choice:

2,000 pound laser guided bomb dropped from a strike aircraft from a few miles up based solely upon intelligence that there might be somebody we want dead in a building

New weapon of choice:
Hellfire missile armed with an 18 pound warhead launched from about a mile away after observing the target and any potentially impacted civilians.

If you can't see which weapon is by far safer to use, you are retarded.

Or maybe you are a peace weenie that doesn't think that our military should be engaging the terrorist organizations that attack us?

RE: About F'in TIME
By Skywalker123 on 5/14/2013 9:04:41 AM , Rating: 2
The results are the same, dead civilians. If you can't see that our actions are increasing terrorist attacks, not reducing them then YOU are the retarded one

RE: About F'in TIME
By Ammohunt on 5/13/2013 3:13:28 PM , Rating: 2
IF ANY other countries decided to start using drones to kill SUSPECTED targets in the US and civilians, that would be an immediate declaration of war.

We are not a country of inept primitive screw heads that stab each other in the back the first time anyone turns away from us or a goat or two. Pakistan can not handle the Taliban, we can! hence the reason we are policing their country and being very effective at suppressing Islamic terrorism and the insurgency that threatens the Pakistani government. This headline is meant to show the pissed off Pakistani's that their government is doing something all the while thanking Allah that America is there to ensure their country exists in a tiny secular fashion.

RE: About F'in TIME
By jeepga on 5/13/2013 5:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't disagree with a lot of what you said until I got to the word "neo-con". At that point I knew you didn't know what you were talking about.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki