Amnesty International Responds to Release of "Targeted Killing" Memo

Press Release
June 23, 2014

Amnesty International Responds to Release of "Targeted Killing" Memo

Contact: Gabe Cahn, gabe@westendstrategy.com, 202.776.7700, c: 202.412.1678, @AIUSAmedia

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In response to today's release of the Department of Justice's "Targetted Killing" memo, Amnesty International released the following statement:

"The release of parts of the U.S. government's memo on the killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki, following a court order, is long-overdue. But this step falls far short of what is required to ensure transparency and legality in the "targeted killing" program. As far as we know, only a handful of the hundreds of people killed in drone attacks and similar strikes have been U.S. citizens. And we know too little about the basis in international law for the deliberate use of lethal force in these hundreds of killings, let alone the evidentiary basis for targeting these individuals.

"We will review the memo carefully. Unfortunately it appears, like previous explanations of the U.S. position, to be based on the false premise of a global armed conflict between the USA and al-Qa'ida and associated forces which has been used by U.S. authorities to sideline human rights law in the pursuit of counter-terrorism. This conflict paradigm has resulted in the U.S. forces committing gross human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.

"We hope that the release of this memo, will be followed by further disclosures of the legal basis for the "targeted killing" program, as well as the release of information about who has been killed in U.S. strikes and why they were targeted."

Experts are available for interview on the U.S. government's use of drone strikes.

For more information, please see Amnesty International's report "Will I Be Next? U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan".

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.