CNN updates January reports of a United Nations special investigation which will examine drone strikes and targeted killings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
It will be prepared for the U.N. General Assembly by British lawyer Ben Emmerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights.
The probe was requested by Pakistan, which officially opposes the use of U.S. drones on its territory as an infringement on its sovereignty but is believed to have tacitly approved some strikes in the past. The other two countries requesting the investigation were Russia and China, permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
The U.S. has rejected a claim by Pakistani officials that drone strikes kill many innocent civilians.
Emmerson’s interview with CNN:
In a statement on strikes in Pakistan’s tribal region of North Waziristan, Emmerson described how farmers were on their way to tend their crops when a missile slammed into their midst, thrusting shrapnel in all directions. A CIA drone, flying so high that the farmers couldn’t see it, had killed most of them. None of them were militants.
Such attacks by U.S. drones are common, Emmerson said, describing them as being of ‘dubious international legality’, despite the United States’ assertions.