Today, Jan. 24, 2013, Al Jazeera has reported, UN launches probe into drone strikes. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has launched an investigation into drone strikes and will be reviewing resultant civilian casualties in order to determine whether the attacks constitute a war crime. In response to requests from Russia, China and Pakistan, Ben Emmerson, who is a UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, has formally launched this inquiry.
The UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights has stated that the inquiry will provide a "critical examination of the factual evidence concerning civilian casualties." It has also been stated that the inquiry ultimately intends to make recommendations to the UN General Assembly in order to prompt countries to "investigate into the lawfulness and proportionality of such attacks". Emmerson has told Al Jazeera, "This is not an investigation into the conduct of any particular state. It's an investigation into the consequence into this form of technology."
Chris Woods and Alice K Ross have also covered this story for Antiwar.com, UN launches major investigation into civilian drone deaths. A UN investigation into the legality and casualties of drone strikes which has been formally launched, has come as the latest reported US drone strike in Yemen was said to have mistakenly killed two children. Ben Emmerson, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, has told a London press conference that he will lead a group of international specialists who will be examining CIA and Pentagon covert drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. This team is also planning to look at drone strikes by US and UK forces in Afghanistan, and by Israel in the Occupied Territories.