Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Are US Drone Strikes Legal?

Predator launching a Hellfire missileProfessor Steven Ratner, University of Michigan Law School and Shahzad Akbar, Barrister, Foundation of Fundamental Rights (FFR) Pakistan, will discuss "Drone strikes, US policy and the law", at the Australian National University College of Law, in Canberra, 2 August 2013.
Steven Ratner: The United States government has offered a legal theory for the use of drones based primarily on the jus ad bellum concept of self-defense as well as jus in bello concepts of distinction and proportionality. The US position, now elaborated in a formal paper by the Obama Administration, combines traditional doctrines and new ideas. I will examine whether that policy is and should be the basis for a new set of legal regulations on drone warfare.

Shahzad Akbar: The United States government has been conducting drone strikes within the sovereign territory of Pakistan since 2004, in breach of a plethora of international and domestic laws. According to independent sources, these drone strikes have caused a large number of civilian casualties including those of women and children. I will discuss the impact of drone warfare on civilians in Pakistan and outline the various strategies adopted by the victims to seek redress.

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