A report to be presented to UN Human Rights Council on Thursday has found the US drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine others a breach of international law.
The report by UN human rights investigator said the U.S. has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani’s convoy as it left Baghdad airport on 3 January.
The attack violated the UN Charter, said Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
She called for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones and for greater regulation of the weapons.
“The world is at a critical time, and possible tipping point, when it comes to the use of drones. … The Security Council is missing in action; the international community, willingly or not, stands largely silent,” Ms Callamard, an independent investigator, said on Monday.
After presenting her report on Thursday, member states will have a chance to debate what action to pursue.
The United States is not a member of the forum. It quit two years ago.
Maj Gen Soleimani, leader of the of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, was a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran’s campaign to drive US forces out of Iraq, and built up Iran’s network of proxy armies across the Middle East.
Washington had accused the deceased commander of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on US forces in the region.
“Major General Soleimani was in charge of Iran military strategy, and actions, in Syria and Iraq.
But absent an actual imminent threat to life, the course of action taken by the US was unlawful,” Ms Callamard wrote in the report.
The drone strike on January 3 was the first known incident in which a nation invoked self-defence as a justification for an attack against a state actor in the territory of a third country, Ms Callamard said.
Iran retaliated with a rocket attack on an Iraqi airbase where US forces were stationed. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran.
Iran has issued an arrest warrant for US President Donald Trump and 35 others over Suleimani’s killing and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said last month, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. (AFP)