United Nations Releases New Report on Drones

[Editor’s note: Emmerson’s drone report is also publicly available on the UN website.]

Last year, two UN Special Rapporteurs released major reports on drones — a report by Christof Heyns (UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions) and a report by Ben Emmerson (UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and countering terrorism) — and both reports were then discussed by states at an important meeting of the United Nations.

An important follow-up report by one of the Special Rapporteurs — Ben Emmerson — is now available. The report provides:

(1) a discussion of recent trends in civilian casualty rates, including in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen;

(2) an examination of 30 case studies of drone strikes in which there was at least “a plausible indication” that civilians were killed, injured, or at immediate risk;

(3) recommendations to clarify and promote compliance with international legal standards (in which the Special Rapporteur provides a veritable laundry list of open questions that he suggests lack a sufficient international consensus).

Stay tuned for more coverage of the report at Just Security. 

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.