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Pakistani High Court: US Drone Strikes are "War Crimes"

Pakistani High Court: US Drone Strikes are "War Crimes"

By Dennis Loo (5/11/13)

The UK Independent reported in a May 9, 2013 article entitled "Pakistani court declares US drone strikes in the country's tribal belt illegal":

In what activists said was an historic decision, the Peshawar High Court issued the verdict against the strikes by CIA-operated spy planes in response to four petitions that contended the attacks killed civilians and caused “collateral damage”.

Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, who headed a two-judge bench that heard the petitions, ruled the drone strikes were illegal, inhumane and a violation of the UN charter on human rights. The court said the strikes must be declared a war crime as they killed innocent people.

“The government of Pakistan must ensure that no drone strike takes place in the future,” the court said, according to the Press Trust of India. It asked Pakistan's foreign ministry to table a resolution against the American attacks in the UN.

“If the US vetoes the resolution, then the country should think about breaking diplomatic ties with the US,” the judgment said.

The case that the court was hearing concerned the drone killings of more than 50 people in a 17 March 2011 strike on a tribal jirga. The article proceeds to explain what a jirga is:

The jirga, a traditional community dispute resolution mechanism, had been called to settle a chromite mining dispute in Datta Khel, North Waziristan. This [U.S. drone] strike killed more than 50 tribal elders, including a number of government officials. There was strong condemnation of this attack by all quarters in Pakistan including the federal government and Pakistan military.

Not only, then, were the people killed innocent, over fifty of them were murdered in one attack. They were, on top of that, tribal elders, with a number of them Pakistani government officials.

I should very much like to hear those people brave - and foolish enough - to defend these kinds of horrid attacks as a) justified under the signboard of self-defense, b) an example of killing only really bad individuals who are actively at war with the U.S., and c) permissable under international law.

It isn't international law that such apologists would be/are talking about. It's the law of empires: when we do it, these empires say, it's right, moral and legal. When others do it, especially if they do it to us, the empire, it's an act of war.

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