- Title: U.N. expert deems U.S. drone strike on Iran's Soleimani an 'unlawful' killing
- Date: 9th July 2020
- Summary: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (JULY 9, 2020) (REUTERS) NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON EXTRAJUDICIAL, SUMMARY OR ARBITRARY EXECUTIONS, AGNES CALLAMARD, SAYING: "On January 3rd 2020, the world moved into a very difference space. On that day, the United States used an armed drone to target and kill Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani, as well as a number of his companions, including largely Iraqi representatives. That is a significant and troubling new development. It is the first known incident in which a state invokes self-defence as justification for an attack against a government official outside a declared armed conflict." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON EXTRAJUDICIAL, SUMMARY OR ARBITRARY EXECUTIONS, AGNES CALLAMARD, SAYING: "The international community must now confront the real prospect that states could opt on the basis of that precedent to strategically eliminate high-ranking military or non-military officials outside the context of a known war and to justify that killing on the ground of self-defence, understood in this very elastic fashion which I have just presented." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON EXTRAJUDICIAL, SUMMARY OR ARBITRARY EXECUTIONS, AGNES CALLAMARD, SAYING: "That was the first step for the United States, I think, towards the actual targeted killing of general Soleimani, the determination, I believe, in April 2019, that the revolutionary guards, general Soleimani were terrorists or fell within their definition, one of their definitions of terrorism, and that opened the way or opened the door to using a counter-terrorism framework and the war on terror, legal framework to the targeting of general Soleimani. So, my response to you is that if I were in the shoes of a government or a member of a government who will be deemed a terrorist by the U.S., at this point, I will be very and extra careful." NEWS CONFERENCE ENDING VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF UNITED NATIONS
- Embargoed: 23rd July 2020 14:41
- Keywords: Agnes Callamard Geneva Iran Soleimani USA United Nations drones newser
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- City: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Government/Politics,United Nations
- Reuters ID: LVA002CM38T3B
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Thursday (July 9).
The United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani's convoy as it left Baghdad airport, said Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
The attack violated the U.N. Charter, Callamard wrote in a report calling for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones and for greater regulation of the weapons.
Callamard presented her findings to the Human Rights Council, giving member states a chance to debate what action to pursue. The United States is not a member of the forum, having quit two years ago.
Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, was a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran's campaign to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq, and built up Iran's network of proxy armies across the Middle East. Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.
The Jan. 3 drone strike was the first known incident in which a nation invoked self-defence as a justification for an attack against a state actor in the territory of a third country, Callamard added.
Iran retaliated with a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base where U.S. forces were stationed. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran.
Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over Soleimani's killing and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on June 29, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani)
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