Lizzie Dearden reported (17th July) that a two-year probe by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, chaired by Professor Michael Clarke, the former director-general of the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), revealed:
• that the number of operations facilitated by the UK in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia has been growing without any public scrutiny
• growing evidence that Britain is taking on military commitments to assist allies without parliament’s authorisation
• and concluded that the current government does not consider parliamentary approval necessary when providing assistance to allies.
Their report said the inquiry has found that the support provided by the UK constitutes the provision of material assistance to a state that appears to be violating international law.
Because the use of force outside conflicts in which Britain is directly involved is not protected by combatant immunity, British servicemen and women could be prosecuted for killing civilians in drone strikes and risk becoming complicit in alleged war crimes committed by the US. The link to the report, ‘The UK’s use of Armed Drones: Working with Partners’ can be found on this page.
The British government’s claims of responsibility for only one civilian death were called “ridiculous” by Professor Clarke. He added: “They don’t look for evidence and they don’t try to look for evidence.”