5 Questions on Drones Senators Should Ask Attorney General Holder on Wednesday

March 1, 2013
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its ninth periodic oversight hearing of the Department of Justice on Wednesday, March 6th at 9 a.m. with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder  (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images).
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its ninth periodic oversight hearing of the Department of Justice on Wednesday, March 6th at 9 a.m. with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images).

On Wednesday March 6th at 9 a.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its ninth periodic oversight hearing of the Department of Justice with Attorney General Eric Holder. It’s not a hearing on drones and the Obama administration’s counter terrorism policy, but it should be.

As we saw with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s confirmation hearing with John Brennan several weeks ago, the Obama administration’s killing program remains shrouded in secrecy and the little information we do know gives grounds to conclude that the program as a whole allows for the use of lethal force that violates the right to life under international law.

Join Amnesty International in urging Senate Judiciary Committee members to ask Attorney General Holder the following 5 questions about drones, Guantanamo and the administration’s “global war” legal theory, in order to help ensure that no person—US citizen or anyone else—is unlawfully killed or detained:

1) Will you release the secret Department of Justice memos on drone killing to Congress and the public—and, if not, why not?

2) Has the Department of Justice advised the Obama administration that the “rule book” for the use of lethal force already exists—namely, international human rights law and, in the exceptional circumstances it applies, international humanitarian law?

3) What is the Department of Justice doing to ensure 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 if killings are found to have been unlawful?

4) What is the Department of Justice doing to ensure that the US government resolves the Guantanamo detentions in line with its international human rights obligations, including by fulfilling the right to be free from arbitrary detention and the right to a fair trial, and recognizing that, under international law, domestic law and politics do not justify a state’s failure to meet its treaty obligations?

5) How does the Obama administration’s global armed conflict paradigm comply with the international legal definition of armed conflict?

Take Action

Is one of your Senators on the Judiciary Committee? If so:

  • Call and email their D.C. office and urge them to ask Amnesty’s 5 questions for Attorney General Holder.
  • Tell them you’ll be watching the hearing and will listen for these questions.
  • Also urge them to hold public hearings with drone strike survivors and independent experts on international human rights law and humanitarian law. You can use our web action at  http://www.amnestyusa.org/dronehearings
  • If you’re on Twitter, join me @ZekeJohnsonAi in live Tweeting the hearing on Wednesday at 9 a.m. and be sure to Tweet at your Senators, for example: “Dear @___ ask AG Holder @Amnesty’s 5 questions on #drones & #Guantanamo [include a link to this blog]” or “Dear @ ______ we need a public hearing on #drones www.amnestyusa.org/dronehearings
DONATE