Rise of the drones: A study on the legality of drone targeted killings of suspected terrorists

Olivia Herman
Persbericht

Rise of the drones: A study on the legality of drone targeted killings of suspected terrorists

In het oog van de drone                                                                                     

In haar boek “Gaza op mijn hoofd” schrijft Inge Neefs, "Boven ons hangt er nu zo'n gigantische stalen wesp: een drone, een onbemand vliegtuig dat van op afstand bestuurd wordt, via een console, ergens in Tel Aviv waarschijnlijk. (...) Het enige wat nu telt is de dodelijkheid, de onvoorspelbaarheid van dat massief tuig boven ons. Dat monster wekt oer angsten op, een gevoel van absolute kwetsbaarheid." Deze gevoelens van angst en kwetsbaarheid zijn tegenwoordig de realiteit voor veel mensen. Sla de krant open, kijk naar het nieuws of op sociale media en je komt zeker verhalen tegen over dit nieuwe wapen.

Onze samenleving is drastisch veranderd na de gebeurtenissen van 11 september. Meer dan een decennia lang is de wereld al in de greep van “de oorlog tegen terrorisme”. Door de internationale dreiging die uitgaat van terroristische groeperingen evolueren de middelen van oorlogsvoering aan een razend snel tempo. Ook drones passen daarin. Ze lijken een oplossing uit de hemel om onzichtbare vijanden te bestrijden met onzichtbare wapens.

Een drone is een onbemand luchtvaartuig, soms bestuurd van op honderden kilometers afstand, dat zowel voor burgerlijke als militaire doeleinden kan ingezet worden. Een militaire drone kan een doelwit uren- of dagenlang gade slaan om het dan op het meest geschikte moment en met chirurgische precisie uit te schakelen. Zo worden burgerslachtoffers en ook eigen militaire verliezen tot een minimum beperkt. Het is dan ook niet verwonderlijk dat dit hoogtechnologische wapen hetgene is dat elk land wil hebben.

Deze nieuwe, grotendeels onzichtbare manier van oorlogsvoering, voornamelijk door Israël en de VS beoefend in hun strijd tegen terrorisme, heeft zijn schaduwkanten. Reduceren drones niet oorlogsvoering tot een Playstation spel maar dan wel met echt menselijk leed? Wordt niet de hele wereld door de vervagende staatsgrenzen een virtueel strijdtoneel onder een quasi-permanente staat van oorlog? Zijn de traditionele oorlogsconventies nog in staat om deze nieuwe manier van oorlogsvoering te reguleren? Wie draagt de verantwoordelijkheid indien een drone aanval fout afloopt? Er wordt een onzichtbare oorlog gevoerd vanuit de lucht die gelegitimeerd wordt als terrorismebestrijding en die de traditionele regels van oorlogsvoering in vraag stelt.

Het gebruik van drones tast de juridische grenzen af van de rechtsstaat. Het recht op leven, één van de kernrechten in humanitair recht en mensenrechten, komt hierdoor onder druk te staan. De VS deinst er niet voor terug om deze grenzen ruim in zijn voordeel te interpreteren. Zo beschouwt de VS mannen van militaire leeftijd in gebieden met gevaar voor terroristische activiteiten, als legitieme doelwitten. Dit criterium is arbitrair en vatbaar voor fouten en misbruik. Burgerlijke slachtoffers worden zelden erkend door de VS en Israël en slechts uitzonderlijk wordt er verantwoordelijkheid opgenomen voor de dood van deze mensen. De gevolgen voor het dagelijkse leven en de psychische gezondheid van mensen die dag in dag uit onder voortdurende vrees voor nieuwe drone aanslagen leven is niet te onderschatten.

In het recente conflict in Gaza heeft Israël op grote schaal drones ingezet. Zoals de VS hanteert ook Israël een ruime omschrijving van wat een legitiem doelwit is. Israël beweert de rechten van burgers te handhaven door voorafgaandelijk waarschuwingsschoten af te vuren op het gebouw dat ze kort daarna met drones willen bombarderen. Aanwezigen krijgen luttele minuten de tijd om het gebouw te verlaten. Indien ze toch te laat zijn en omkomen bij de drone aanslag worden ze niet langer beschouwd als burgers maar als personen die deelnemen aan het gewapend conflict. Juridisch wil dat zeggen dat hun dood gewettigd is. Het is maar de vraag of dit overeenstemt met het internationaal recht en of Israël niet het recht manipuleert uit eigen belang.

Naast de VS en Israël zien ook andere landende voordelen in van het gebruik van drones. Zo hebben recent zeven Europese landen, Frankrijk, Duitsland, Italië, Spanje, Nederland, Griekenland en Polen, een ‘club’ gevormd om vanaf 2020 samen militaire drones te produceren. Drones zijn een opkomende miljardenindustrie geworden.

Tijdens de 25ste sessie van de Mensenrechtenraad van de Verenigde Naties in maart 2014 heeft de speciaal VN-rapporteur Ben Emmerson zijn rapport over drones voorgesteld. De Mensenrechtenraad heeft daarbij een resolutie over militaire drones aangenomen waarbij het bij landen aandringt om hun verplichtingen onder internationaal recht te eerbiedigen. Dit toont de bezorgdheid van de internationale gemeenschap omtrent de wettigheid van drone aanslagen en de noodzaak voor het bereiken van een consensus over een aantal belangrijke juridische kwesties. Drones hebben gezorgd voor juridische grijze zones die de grenzen aftasten van de rechtsstaat en de internationale rechtsorde. Dat moet in de gaten gehouden worden.

Eén van de nieuwste ontwikkelingen zijn de zogenaamde ‘killer robots’. Dit wapen wordt op voorhand geprogrammeerd om zonder menselijk ingrijpen doelwitten uit te kiezen en te neutraliseren. Het gebruik van drones zorgt al voor juridische en ethische bezwaren, maar deze killer robots gaan nog een stapje verder. De juridische en ethische complexiteiten die er al zijn worden hierdoor nog een trapje hoger gezet. Een groep NGO’s, met onder andere Human Rights Watch, lanceerden in 2013 ‘The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots’. Hun doel is om preventief dit soort van wapens te verbieden, wat eerder niet het geval was bij drones.

Hoe zal oorlogsvoering en terrorismebestrijding zich verder ontwikkelen? Is de wereld opgewassen tegen de internationale dreiging die uitgaat van terroristische groeperingen als de Islamitische Staat en kunnen drones een onderdeel vormen van de bestrijding hier tegen? Drones zullen in de toekomst ook door steeds meer landen gebruikt worden, maar wat als de drone technologie in de foute handen terechtkomt?  Het idee dat terroristen met drones de hele wereld in handbereik hebben en kunnen toeslaan waar, wanneer en zonder zichzelf in gevaar te brengen, is een angst die niet uit de lucht gegrepen is. Het is noodzakelijk om op een kordate en krachtige manier terreur tegen te gaan. Van uiterste belang is wel dat terreurbestrijding niet na verloop van tijd in zijn eigen vijand verandert. Enkel een democratische samenleving en een sterke rechtsstaat kunnen ervoor zorgen dat dit niet gebeurt. 

Bibliografie

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·      Blank, L. R., “Drone Strike Casualties and the Laws of War”, Jurist 22 August 2011, http://jurist.org/forum/2011/08/laurie-blank-drone-strikes.php#.U1fuTV7lfwI.

·      Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, “Targeting Operations with Drone Technology: Humanitarian Law Implications”, A Background Note for the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting, 25 March 2009, www.law.columbia.edu/ipimages/Human_Rights_Institute/BackgroundNoteASILColumbia.pdf, 38 p.

·      Delahunty, R. J. and Yoo, J. C., Rewriting the Laws of War for a New Enemy”, L.A. Times 1 February 2005, http://articles.latimes.com/2005/feb/01/opinion/oe-yoo1.

·      Drew, C., ”Military Is Awash in Data from Drones”, N.Y. Times 5 January 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/business/11drone.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&.

·      Epatko, L., ”Controversy Surrounds Increased Use of U.S. Drone Strikes”, PBS NewsHour 10 October 2011, www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/10/drone-strikes-1.html.

·      Grossman, L., ”Drone Home: The Fight and Spy for America Abroad. But What Happens When Drones Return Home?”, Time 11 February 2013, http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2135132-1,00.html, 5 p.

·      Human Rights Watch, “UN: Nations Agree to Address ‘Killer Robots’”, 15 November 2013, www.hrw.org/news/2013/11/15/un-nations-agree-address-killer-robots.

·      ICRC, ”War and Humanitarian Law”, 29 October 2010, www.icrc.org/eng/war-and-law/overview-war-and-law.htm.

·      Jones, S. G. and Libicki, C., “How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida”, RAND Corporation 2008, www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG741-1.html, 225 p.

·      McCloskey, M., ”The War Room: Daily Transition Between Battle, Home Takes a Toll on Drone Operators”, Stars & Stripes 9 October 2009, www.stripes.com/news/the-war-room-daily-transition-between-battle-home-takes-a-toll-on-drone-operators-1.95949#.Uzfc6NzlfwI.

·      Miller, G., “Feinstein Comment on U.S. Drones Likely to Embarrass Pakistan”, L.A. Times 13 February 2009, http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/13/world/fg-uspakistan13.

·      Nebehay, S., ”U.N. Rights Forum Calls for Use of Armed Drones to Comply with Law”, Reuters 28 March 2014, www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/28/us-un-rights-drones-idUSBREA2R0WW20140328.

·      O’Connell, M. E., “Seductive Drones: Learning from a Decade of Lethal Operations”, JLIS 2011, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1912635, 27 p.

·      Risen, J. and Johnston, D., “Bush Has Widened Authority of C.I.A. to Kill Terrorists”, N.Y. Times 15 December 2002, www.nytimes.com/2002/12/15/world/threats-responses-hunt-for-al-qaeda-bush-has-widened-authority-cia-kill.html.

·      Sassòli, M., “Transnational Armed Groups and International Humanitarian Law”, Occasional Paper Series, Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research, Harvard University 2006, Number 6, www.hpcrresearch.org/sites/default/files/publications/OccasionalPaper6.pdf, 43 p.

·      Serle, J., ”Countries Must Investigate Civilian Drone Deaths Claims, Says UN Investigator Ben Emmerson”, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism 12 March 2014, www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2014/03/12/countries-must-investigate-civilian-drone-death-claims-says-un-investigator-ben-emmerson/.

·      Shane, S., ”Contrasting Reports of Drone Strikes”, N.Y. Times 11 August 2011, www.nytimes.com/2011/08/12/world/asia/12droneside.html?_r=0.

·      Shane, S., ”Debate Aside, Number of Drone Strikes Drops Sharply”, N.Y. Times 21 May 2013, www.nytimes.com/2013/05/22/us/debate-aside-drone-strikes-drop-sharply.html?_r=0.

·      Shanker, T. and Richtel, M., ”In New Military, Data Overload Can Be Deadly”, N.Y. Times 16 January 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/17/technology/17brain.html?pagewanted=all.

·      Singer, P. W., “Military Robots and the Laws of War”, The New Atlantis 2009, www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/military-robots-and-the-laws-of-war.

·      Tyson, A. S., ”Afghan Strategy Poses Tactical Tests for Marines”, Wash. Post 13 August 2009, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/12/AR2009081203198.html.

·      Wallsten, P., “Geneva Convention Overhaul Considered”, L.A. Times 7 January 2005, http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jan/07/nation/na-geneva7.

·      Wardrop, M., “Unmanned Drones could be Banned, Says Senior Judge”, The Telegraph 6 July 2009, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/5755446/Unmanned-drones-could-be-banned-says-senior-judge.html.

·      Woods, C., “The Day 69 Children Died”, The Express Tribune (with the International N.Y. Times) 12 August 2011, http://tribune.com.pk/story/229844/the-day-69-children-died/.

·      X, “Flight of the Drones: Why the Future of Air Power Belongs to Unmanned Systems”, The Economist 8 October 2011, www.economist.com/node/21531433.

·      X, “NOVA: Rise Of The Drones”, KPBS 15 March 2013, www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jan/22/nova-rise-drones/.

REPORTS

·      Amnesty International, ”Will I be Next? US Drone Strikes in Pakistan”, October 2013, www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/asa330132013en.pdf, 74 p.

·      Creech 14, “Drone: Resisting Sanitized Remote-control Death”, http://vcnv.org/drone-resisting-sanitized-remote-control-death.

·      Human Rights Watch, “Losing Humanity”, 19 November 2012, www.hrw.org/reports/2012/11/19/losing-humanity-0, 49 p.

·      Human Rights Watch, ”A Wedding That Became a Funeral”, 20 February 2014, www.hrw.org/reports/2014/02/19/wedding-became-funeral-0, 28 p.

·      Human Rights Watch, ”Between a Drone and Al-Qaeda”, 22 October 2013, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/10/22/between-drone-and-al-qaeda-0, 98 p.

·      Roggio, B. and Mayer, A., Charting the Data for U.S. Airstrikes in Pakistan 2004-2014, The Long War Journal, www.longwarjournal.org/pakistan-strikes.php.

·      Stanford Law School and NYU School of Law, “Living Under Drones”, September 2012, www.livingunderdrones.org/victim-stories/.

U.S. DOCUMENTS

·      Koh, H. H., Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State, Keynote Speech at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law on 25 March 2010, www.state.gov/s/l/releases/remarks/139119.htm.

·      President B. Obama, Speech given by U.S. President Obama in May 2013 at the National Defense University, www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/23/remarks-president-barack-obama.

·      President G. W. Bush, Radio Address of the U.S. President to the Nation, 29 September 2001, http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010929.html.

·      The White House, Memorandum of 7 February 2002, Appendix C to the Final Report of the Independent Panel to Review DOD Detention Operations, 24 August 2004, www.defense.gov/news/Aug2004/d20040824finalreport.pdf.

·      The White House: Office of the Press Secretary, Fact Sheet: US Policy Standards and Procedures for the Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations Outside the United Stated and Areas of Active Hostilities, 23 May 2013, www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/23/fact-sheet-us-policy-standards-and-procedures-use-force-counterterrorism.

·      U.S. Committee on Foreign Relations, Afghanistan’s Narco War: Breaking the Link Between Drug Traffickers and Insurgents, 111th Congress, First Session, S. Prt. 111-29, 2009, 31 p.

·      U.S. Department of Defense, Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, 2001, www.fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp1_02-april2010.pdf, 487 p.

·      Video, Interview with Michael Hayden, www.cnbc.com/id/100854854.

WEBSITES

·      ICRC, Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law, 2005, www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v1.

·      Interview with Noam Chomsky by Laura Flanders, available at www.mediaite.com/tv/noam-chomsky-obama-is-running-biggest-terrorist-operation-that-exists/.

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