July 19, 2012
The legality of America’s drone-based “targeted killing” program has recently come under fire in court, although mostly over the general basis on which the government can claim that meeting in secret to decide someone’s deathcounts as due process.
Unfortunately, lawyers for the government continue to invoke the privilege of state secrecy in order to avoid even having to confirm or deny that such a program exists to begin with, never mind actually addressing the legal basis for the practice.
Now the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have joined forces to fight on behalf of family members of three Americans who were murdered last year in drone strikes in Yemen.
The lawsuit targets top-ranking United States government officials, alleging that they actually killed the three Americans, including a 16-year-old boy.
They allege that this action violated international human rights law and the United States Constitution itself, a fact echoed by human rights layers stating that British civilians are actually “parties to murders” which are carried out by U.S. drones.
This lawsuit is groundbreaking, to say the least, and is the first lawsuit to actually challenge the legality of specific killings as well as the first to argue that the U.S. was not actually engaged in an armed conflict in Yemen at the time of the killing, thereby prohibiting the use of lethal force.