June 2, 2010

U.S. is world's top user of targeted killingsWashington – The United States was identified Wednesday as the world’s No. 1 user of targeted killings — largely as a result of its dependence on unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A report released by the United Nations called the drone attacks part of a “strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability” and warned that they are contributing to an erosion of longstanding international rules governing warfare. It urged states to identify publicly the rules of international law believed to provide a basis for any attempted targeted killings as well as the rationale for deciding to kill instead of capture individuals.

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“The rules being set today are going to govern the conduct of many states tomorrow,” said New York University law professor Philip Alston, the report’s author. “The international community needs to be more forceful in demanding accountability.”

Alston, who also works for the U.N. Human Rights Council, said roughly 40 countries possess drone technology, and many of them either already have or attempting to acquire the capability to launch missiles from drones.


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