UNITED NATIONS — US drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan could be breaking international laws against summary executions, the UN’s top investigator of such crimes said.
“The problem with the United States is that it is making an increased use of drones/Predators (which are) particularly prominently used now in relation to Pakistan and Afghanistan,” UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston told a press conference.
“My concern is that drones/Predators are being operated in a framework which may well violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” he said.
US strikes with remote-controlled aircraft against Al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan have often resulted in civilian deaths and drawn bitter criticism from local populations.
“The onus is really on the United States government to reveal more about the ways in which it makes sure that arbitrary extrajudicial executions aren’t in fact being carried out through the use of these weapons,” he added.
Alston said he presented a report on the matter to the UN General Assembly.
He urged the United States to be more forthright about how and when it uses drone aircraft, something about which the US Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) usually keep silent.
“We need the United States to be more up front and say, ‘OK, we’re willing to discuss some aspects of this program,’ otherwise you have the really problematic bottom line that the CIA is running a program that is killing significant numbers of people and there is absolutely no accountability in terms of the relevant international laws,” Alston said.
Since August 2008, around 70 strikes by unmanned aircraft have killed close to 600 people in northwestern Pakistan.
“I would like to know the legal basis upon which the United States is operating, in other words… who is running the program, what accountability mechanisms are in place in relation to that,” Alston said.
“Secondly, what precautions the United States is taking to ensure that these weapons are used strictly for purposes consistent with international humanitarian law.
“Third, what sort of review mechanism is there to evaluate when these weapons have been used? Those are the issues I’d like to see addressed,” the UN official said.
‘He has no clue’: Internet slams Trump’s ‘breathtaking’ incoherence at coronavirus press conference
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump gave a barely intelligible press conference on the coronavirus outbreak, during which he claimed he saved America by shutting down flights, appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead a coronavirus task force despite having few qualifications to do so, suggesting his public health budget cuts are no big deal because he can just hire more doctors later, and insisting that it was Democrats, rather than the epidemic, that tanked the stock market this week.
Trump said coronavirus won’t spread — his scientists said the opposite right in front of him: Congresswoman
Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) blasted President Donald Trump after his press conference Wednesday because he contradicted his own scientists on the coronavirus.
During an MSNBC discussion after the Q&A, the Congresswoman explained that it only confuses Americans more.
"He's not doing very well on the coronavirus," she said. "Because the test of leadership is not talking about something you know very little about and he just confused the American people about whether this virus is going to spread. All the scientists said it is going to spread and the president gave the opposite impression. And presidents have to know that when they're in a situation like this with complicated science, they put the scientists, physicians in front of them, preferably, by the way, in white coats, and let them reassure the American people."
Trump says that the financial markets dropped because of Democrats — not coronavirus
The U.S. stock market dropped over 2,000 points this week, but President Donald Trump said that it's more about Democrats than the coronavirus.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Trump for the way he has handled the crisis.
"I think Speaker Pelosi is incompetent," Trump said in response to the question about her. "She lost the Congress once. I think she's going to lose it again. She lifted my poll numbers up ten points. I never thought I would see that so quickly and so easily. I'm leading everybody. We're doing great. I don't want to do it that way. It's almost unfair if you think about it. But I think she's incompetent and I think she's not thinking about the country. Instead of making a statement like that where I've been beating her routinely at everything, instead of making a statement like that, she should be saying we have to work together because we have a big problem potentially and maybe it's going to be a very little problem."