USA: ‘Targeted killing’ policies violate the right to life

Report
June 15, 2012

USA: ‘Targeted killing’ policies violate the right to life

  • disclose further legal and factual details about US policy and practices for so-called ‘targeted killings', 'signature strikes', and “Terrorist Attack Disruption Strikes”;
  • end claims that the USA is authorized by international law to use lethal force anywhere in the world under the theory that it is involved in a “global war” against al-Qa'ida and other armed groups and individuals;
  • recognize the application of international human rights law to all US counter-terrorism operations including those outside US territory;
  • bring US policies and practices in line with the USA’s international human rights obligations, particularly, by:
  • ensuring that any use of lethal force outside of specific recognized zones of armed conflict complies fully with the USA’s obligations under international human rights law, including by limiting the use of force in accordance with law enforcement standards.
  • Ensuring that any use of lethal force within specific recognized zones of armed conflict complies fully with the USA’s obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, including by recognizing and respecting the rule that if there is doubt as to whether a person is a civilian, the person is to be considered a civilian.
  • Ensuring independent and impartial investigations in all cases of alleged extrajudicial executions or other unlawful killings, respect for the rights of family members of those killed, and effective redress and remedy where killings are found to have been unlawful.

Amnesty International calls on other states, and intergovernmental organizations including the United Nations, explicitly to reject and oppose as unlawful the current US policies and practices on the deliberate use of lethal force against terrorism suspects, and to urge the USA to take the measures outlined above.