01 May 2016
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"The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) has today published its report on the Government’s policy on the use of drones for targeted killing, following its inquiry in the wake of the killing of suspected terrorist and UK national Reyaad Khan by an RAF drone strike in Syria. The Government states that the UK military action taken against Reyaad Khan on 21 August 2015 was armed conflict, as part of the same armed conflict in which the UK was already involved in Syria, and the Committee accepts this. However, the report also establishes that it is the Government’s policy to be willing to use lethal force abroad, outside of armed conflict, when there is no other way of preventing an imminent terrorist attack against the UK."
Press release: “Government must clarify legal case for lethal drone strikes outside armed conflict”, say Human Rights Committee (pdf)
Full report: The Government’s policy on the use of drones for targeted killing (pdf): "We have explained in our Report why clarification of the legal position is so urgently needed, and why this will require strong leadership internationally."
Drone killings: Legal case 'needs clarifying' (BBC News, link): "The legal case for using drone strikes outside of armed conflict needs "urgent clarification" from ministers, a cross-party parliamentary committee has said. The government insisted it did not have a "targeted killing" policy, but was clearly willing to use lethal force overseas for counter-terrorism, the Joint Committee on Human Rights said."
Drone Wars UK: Parliamentary Human Rights Committee release report into drones and targeted killing (link): "The Joint Human Rights Committee have today released their report into the use of armed drones for targeted killing. While the drone strike that targeted and killed 21-year-old British citizen Reyaad Khan last August was in many ways the trigger for the inquiry, the Committee chose to focus on the wider legal issues around the policy of targeted killing itself, rather than that specific operation.
In an initial assessment of the report there are three points to be made"
And: Ministers risk murder prosecution for drone strikes, MPs warn (Reprieve, link): "An influential committee of Parliamentarians has today [Tuesday] called on the British Government to “urgently” clarify its legal position on drone strikes, warning that its policy “may expose…Ministers to the risk of criminal prosecution for murder.”"
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