14 March 2019 — Drone Warfare
President Donald Trump, who has stepped up the use of drones in Somalia and other areas, recently revoked a requirement for U.S. intelligence officials to give public reports listing the number of civilians killed in drone strikes and other attacks on terrorist targets outside war zones – a practice which was part of an accountability effort to minimize civilian deaths from drone strikes. The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, however, has announced that he will seek to reimpose the intelligence community’s reporting on civilian casualties through a provision in this year’s Intelligence Authorization Act.
Amnesty USA focusses on UK, German, Dutch and Italian role in America’s lethal drone strikes
A report by the Open Society’s Justice Initiative highlights how, with German support, the United States has carried out illegal killings as part of its “War on Terror” doctrine—which represents a threat to the rule of law everywhere.
Yesterday, the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia in Münster heard arguments from lawyers representing a Somali herdsman whose father was killed in a U.S. drone strike in February 2012.
The charge argues that allowing U.S. bases on German territory to support such drone strikes violates both the German constitution and Germany’s Status of Forces Agreements with NATO, under which U.S. forces are granted the right to operate on its territory while respecting German law.
The legal team earlier filed an application to the Higher Regional Court of Zweibrücken arguing that that the United States’ so-called “global war on terrorism” is not justifiable under German law, and that the German government has a duty to prevent any U.S. military action under that category that is supported from German territory.
The complaint asserted that German officials are jointly responsible for the deaths of the two men because Germany hosts two U.S. military facilities indispensable for planning and operating drone strikes in Africa: the U.S. Air Force base at Ramstein, which plays a crucial role in conducting U.S. drone operations worldwide, and the U.S. military’s African command headquarters (AFRICOM) in Stuttgart, which is responsible for all military operations in Africa.
The application seeks a judicial declaration that Germany has committed these violations and an order directing the prosecution to conduct the necessary investigations into this case.
Business Insider reports that yesterday the Senate voted to withdraw United States support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, reported on several posts on this site, eg https://dronewarfare.wordpress.com/2018/02/12/our-special-friend-increases-executions-without-trial-regardless-of-yemens-suffering/