Pakistani Court Accuses U.S. of War Crimes for Drone Strikes
May 13, 2013 10:33 AM
comment(s) - last by
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
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."
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 [
] 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 been
implicated 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
, "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
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.
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.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
5/13/2013 5:13:48 PM
I'm fairly certain that collateral damage != war crimes. I don't believe that Goring was even tried for The Blitz even though it caused enormous collateral damage (If it could even be considered that since it was basically deliberate civilian attacks). As long as the strikes are attempting to hit legitimate targets then I don't think a war crimes charge will stick.
Note: I'm not arguing morality here, just law.
RE: War crimes?
5/13/2013 8:04:38 PM
Practically speaking, the enforcement of international law is dependent upon the parties involved and not the actual crimes. If America or Israel break international law (which they do regularly), then there are no consequences because of who they are. If a country that is not friendly with America breaks international law, then they are condemned and sometimes punished.
The history of UN Security Council resolutions shows many examples of the United States and its closest allies voting against the vast majority of council member nations. The most obvious examples are resolutions regarding Israel's policies against Palestine.
RE: War crimes?
5/14/2013 1:24:29 AM
Well obviously. But beyond that I don't even think it qualifies. Of course they're going to claim it because they want to US to stop but I don't think it actually counts.
"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
Docs Show CIA's Mass Drone Death Strikes Killed Few al-Qaeda Leaders
April 10, 2013, 3:16 PM
Obama's AG Won't Rule Out Drone Death Strikes on U.S. Soil
March 6, 2013, 12:34 PM
Former Press Secretary: Obama Admin. Tried to Conceal Drone Strikes on Americans
February 25, 2013, 2:01 PM
DNA Confirms Osama Bin Laden's Death, Raid Was "Liveblogged" via Twitter
May 2, 2011, 1:05 PM
Dawn of the Drones
June 6, 2008, 6:15 PM
U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II, F-22 Raptor Team Up for “Integration Training”
November 19, 2014, 9:15 AM
U.S. Marshals Using Fake, Airplane-based Cell Towers to Scan Cell Phones of Americans
November 14, 2014, 9:05 AM
Ford Enlists Wind Energy Corp. to Provide Wind, Solar Energy to Four U.S. Dealerships
November 10, 2014, 10:58 AM
Disney Reveals Star Wars Ep. VII Title -- "The Force Awakens"
November 6, 2014, 3:45 PM
U.S. Navy Lockheed F-35C Completes First Carrier Landing
November 4, 2014, 12:44 PM
Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen Donates $100M to Fight Raging Ebola Epidemic
October 23, 2014, 6:05 PM
Most Popular Articles
Wal-Mart: Miss Thanksgiving, Get Xbox One + Master Chief Collection for $299
November 17, 2014, 9:40 PM
Nokia Lumia 635 LTE Windows Phone is Only $40 at Best Buy on Black Friday
November 18, 2014, 11:59 AM
Uber Exec Threatens to "Spend Millions" to Stalk Female Reporter and Her Family
November 19, 2014, 12:31 PM
Toyota’s Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Priced from $57,500 in the U.S.
November 18, 2014, 10:23 AM
Rand Paul Casts Crucial "No" Vote on Obama-Backed PATRIOT Act Renewal Bill
November 19, 2014, 5:15 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information