UN investigator decries U.S. use of killer drones
* Use of drones has increased dramatically
* Killings in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen
* Investigator calls on Washington to justify policy
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA, June 19 (Reuters) - A U.N. investigator has called on the Obama administration to justify its policy of assassinating rather than capturing al Qaeda or Taliban suspects, increasingly with the use of unmanned drone aircraft that also take civilian lives.
Christof Heyns, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, urged Washington to clarify the basis under international law of the policy, in a report issued overnight to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The 47-member Geneva forum is to hold a debate later on Tuesday.
The U.S. military has conducted drone attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, in addition to conventional raids and air strikes, according to Heyns, a South African jurist serving in the independent post.
"Disclosure of these killings is critical to ensure accountability, justice and reparation for victims or their families," he said in a 28-page report.
"The (U.S.) government should clarify the procedures in place to ensure that any targeted killing complies with international humanitarian law and human rights and indicate the measures or strategies applied to prevent casualties, as well as the measures in place to provide prompt, thorough, effective and independent public investigation of alleged violations." Continued...