Amnesty International Calls for Investigation of Possible War Crimes in U.S.-Pakistan Drone Strikes

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Posted Oct. 30, 2013

Interview with Rachel O'Leary, deputy director of membership with Amnesty International USA, conducted by Scott Harris


Over the course of the U.S. war against terrorism, and since the Obama administration increased the U.S. CIA and military’s use of drone strikes targeting suspected terrorists in Pakistan and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, human rights groups have focused on the controversy surrounding the rising number of civilian casualties resulting from those attacks. Amnesty International recently released a study assessing the consequences of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan for the period between January 2012 and August 2013.

The study, titled, "Will I be Next? U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan,” is based on detailed field research into nine of the 45 reported pilotless aircraft attacks that occurred in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area near the Afghanistan border – and a survey of publicly available information on all reported drone strikes in Pakistan during the timeframe investigated.

The investigation focuses on the death of a 68-year-old grandmother, Mamana Bibi, reportedly killed by a U.S. drone in October 2012 while picking vegetables with her grandchildren – and the deaths of 18 laborers killed in July by drones that struck a tent where the men had gathered for an evening meal. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Rachel O'Leary, deputy director of membership with Amnesty International USA, who discusses her group’s concern that these drone strikes have “resulted in unlawful killings that may constitute extrajudicial executions or war crimes” and Amnesty’s call for an investigation and accountability under international law.

See Amnesty’s report, "Will I be Next? U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan."

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