The United States lashed out on Wednesday at a United Nations probe into the American drone attack that killed a top Iranian general, saying it gave "a pass to terrorists". US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iran's General Qassem Soleimani in a January attack near Baghdad's international airport. The incident stoked fears of an all-out conflict between Iran and the US. The US air raid that killed Soleimani and others in his convoy was "unlawful" and an "arbitrary killing" that violated the UN charter, the UN expert on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, concluded in a report on Tuesday. She said the US provided no evidence "an imminent attack" against American interests was being planned and, therefore, its "self-defence" justification did not apply.
The United Nations's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings presented a new report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Agnes Callamard's investigation focused on the legality of armed drones including one that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad's airport on January 3. It concluded the United States acted unlawfully in carrying out the attack. The US, meanwhile, denounced her findings. Callamard spoke to Al Jazeera about her probe and the future of drone warfare.
The US drone strike that killed Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani was "unlawful", the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings concluded in a report on Tuesday. US President Donald Trump ordered the killing in a January 3 drone strike near Baghdad international airport. Soleimani 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 attack. Callamard concluded that it was an "arbitrary killing" that violated the UN charter.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday pushed back against a U.N. report that claimed the U.S. strike that killed Islamic Republic Guard Corps Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani breached international law -- with Pompeo describing the conclusions as "spurious." The report was submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council by Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, and concluded that claims by the U.S. about the justification for the strike that killed the Iranian general were exaggerated and lacked evidence. Soleimani, the mastermind of Tehran's military and terror strategies abroad, was taken out in January by the U.S., which described his death as a defensive measure to prevent an "imminent attack" on U.S. interests after an attack on the embassy in Baghdad days earlier. "No evidence has been provided that Gen. Soleimani specifically was planning an imminent attack against U.S. interests, particularly in Iraq, for which immediate action was necessary and would have been justified," Callamard said. The report also accused the U.S. of "violating the territorial integrity of Iraq" and violated the U.N. Charter which "prohibits the threat or use of force and calls on all members to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of other states."
After a U.S. airstrike kills Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells'Fox & amp; Friends' that President Trump's decision was necessary to deter further aggression. The U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial killing on Friday said the President Trump-approved drone strike against Qassem Soleimani, Iran's top general, violated international human rights law. In a lengthy Twitter thread, Agnès Callamard said that "outside the context of active hostilities, the use of drones or other means for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal," adding that the U.S. would need to prove the person targeted constituted an imminent threat to others. She also took issue with the justification for using drones in another country on the basis of self-defense. "Under customary international law States can take military action if the threatened attack is imminent, no other means would deflect it, and the action is proportionate," she wrote.