January 24th, 2013 | by  | Published in All StoriesCovert Drone WarTop Stories  |

A UN investigation into the legality and casualties of drone strikes has been formally launched, with a leading human rights lawyer revealing the team that will carry out the inquiry.

The announcement came as the latest reported US drone strike in Yemen was said to have mistakenly killed two children.

UNDRONEQCBen Emmerson QC, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, told a London press conference that he will lead a group of international specialists who will examine CIA and Pentagon covert drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
The team will also look at drone strikes by US and UK forces in Afghanistan, and by Israel in the Occupied Territories. In total some 25 strikes are expected to be examined in detail.
The senior British barrister will work alongside international criminal lawyers, a senior Pakistani judge and one of the UK’s leading forensic pathologists, as well as experts from Pakistan and Yemen. 

Also joining the team is a serving judge-advocate with the US military ‘who is assisting the inquiry in his personal capacity.’
Emmerson told reporters: ’Those states using this technology and those on whose territory it is used are under an international law obligation to establish effective independent and impartial investigations into any drone attack in which it is plausibly alleged that civilian casualties were sustained.’
But in the absence of such investigations by the US and others, the UN would carry out investigations ‘in the final resort’, he said.

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