European Parliament Passes Resolution on Drones, Targeted Killings, and Fully Autonomous Weapons

In a landslide vote (534 to 49), the European Parliament has passed a Resolution on drones, targeted killings, and fully autonomous weapons.

Stay tuned for a post from one of the leading experts on the topic, Anthony Dworkin. Many readers will be familiar with Dworkin’s influential policy paper, Drones and Targeted Killing: Defining a European Position (2013).

In the meantime, here are highlights of some of the most significant parts of the Resolution (with my emphasis added):

1. Obligations for Post-Strike Investigations and Transparency:

“in the event of allegations of civilian deaths as a result of drone strikes, states are under the obligation to conduct prompt, independent investigations and, if the allegations are proved correct, to proceed to public attribution of responsibility, punishment of those responsible and provision of access to redress”

2. Geographic Restrictions on Targeted Killings:

“drone strikes outside a declared war by a state on the territory of another state without the consent of the latter or of the UN Security Council constitute a violation of international law and of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of that country;”

“international humanitarian law does not permit the targeted killing of persons who are located in non-belligerent states

3. Action Items on a European Position:

“Calls on the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Member States and the Council to:

(a) oppose and ban the practice of extrajudicial targeted killings;

(b) ensure that the Member States, in conformity with their legal obligations, do not perpetrate unlawful targeted killings or facilitate such killings by other states;

(d) ban the development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons which enable strikes to be carried out without human intervention;

(e) commit to ensuring that, where there are reasonable grounds for believing that an individual or entity within their jurisdiction may be connected to an unlawful targeted killing abroad, measures are taken in accordance with their domestic and international legal obligations;”

 

About the Author(s)

Ryan Goodman

Co-Editor-in-Chief of Just Security, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, former Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-2016). You can follow him on Twitter @rgoodlaw.