Geneva: The US drone strike that killed Iran s top general Qasem Soleimani was “unlawful”, the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings concluded in a report released Tuesday.
The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, summary executions or arbitrary executions, Agnes Karamad concluded that this was “arbitrary killing” in violation of the Charter of the United Nations.
She wrote that the United States did not provide evidence that an attack on American interests was imminent.
Independent rights experts do not speak on behalf of the United Nations, but report their findings to the United Nations.
Her report on the targeted killing of armed drones (about half of which involved the Solimani case) will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva.
The United States withdrew from the Security Council in 2018.
US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani during a drone strike near Baghdad International Airport on January 3.
Soleimani, a national hero at home, was “the world s top terrorist” and “should have been terminated long ago”, Trump said at the time.
Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the drone strike.
“In light of the evidence that the US has provided to date, the targeting of General Soleimani, and the deaths of those accompanying him, constitute an arbitrary killing for which, under IHRL (international human rights law), the US is responsible,” Callamard said in her report.
She said the strike violated the UN Charter, with “insufficient evidence provided of an ongoing or imminent attack,” she wrote.
“No evidence has been provided that General Soleimani specifically was planning an imminent attack against US interests, particularly in Iraq, for which immediate action was necessary and would have been justified,” Callamard said.
“No evidence has been provided that a drone strike in a third country was necessary or that the harm caused to that country was proportionate to the harm allegedly averted.
“Soleimani was in charge of Iran s military strategy, and actions, in Syria and Iraq. But absent an actual imminent threat to life, the course of action taken by the US was unlawful.”
The killing of Soleimani, who was in charge of the Quds force, the foreign operations unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, caused massive grief in Iran.
Tehran retaliated by firing ballistic missiles at US troops in Iraq. Although the attack on Ain Al-Asad in western Iraq did not kill any US troops, dozens of people suffered brain trauma.
Given the surge in the use of drones and their ability to expand over the past five years, Callamard’s report addresses targeted killings by armed drones.
It made recommendations aimed at regulating its use and enhancing its sense of responsibility.
Callamad said that although incidents such as the killing of Solaimani and the attacks on oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia in September 2019 caused a strong political response, “the vast majority of targeted killings against drones have not been affected Strict public scrutiny.”
She added that drone technology and drone attacks are creating fundamental challenges to international legal standards.