UN to probe UK and US drone strikes

The United Nations (UN) is to examine Britain and the US drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan based on requests by several nations, including Pakistan and two permanent members of the UN Security Council.

UN special rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC, who will head the inquiry that is to look into the military use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by Britain in Afghanistan and the US in Pakistan as well as in Africa in the Malian conflict.

The probe will cover about 20 or 30 strikes in order to assess the number of any civilian casualties, the identity of militants targeted and the legality of the strike actions, The Guardian reported.

The investigation into targeted killings by the two countries will lead to a report to the UN general assembly in autumn where, depending on the results, further action will be recommended.

Britain has spent more than £2 billion over the last five years, developing its assassination drones.

The deployment of assassination drones by the US and its allies has led to deaths of at least hundreds of innocent civilians, including many women and children, in the Middle East.

This comes as media requests for further details about Britain’s drone strikes, including locations and dates, the circumstances leading to the strikes and casualty figures have so far been rejected by the Ministry of Defense.