AirTalk for October 22, 2013

Amnesty International: US drone strikes are 'unlawful,' demands victim reparations

Don't deny you have documents about drones, court tells the CIA.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

An investigation by Amnesty International found that at least 19 civilians in Pakistan have been killed by drone strikes since January 2012.

Human rights group, Amnesty International, is calling on the U.S. to disclose the breadth and consequences of its drone strikes on Pakistani soil. In a lengthy report, Amnesty investigated victims of numerous strikes. It said innocent lives lost deserve reparation. 

The organization goes further saying unlawful drone strikes ought to lead to "justice in public and fair trials without recourse to the death penalty." In the past, President Barack Obama's administration has called drone strikes ethical and legal.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has said, "[Such strikes] are necessary to mitigate ongoing, actual threats, to stop plots, to prevent further attacks and, again, to save American lives."

What about the so-called "collateral damage" of civilian bystanders? Should the U.S. and/or Pakistan disclose how many have been killed in the nearly 350 strikes in Pakistan since 2004? Would the US owe any compensation to victims?

Guests:
Stephen Vladeck, Professor of Law; Associate Dean for Scholarship at American University Washington College of Law; Co-Editor-in-Chief of JustSecurity.org - a national security blog

Geoffrey S Corn, Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. He is an retired Army Lt. Colonel


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