Joint Committee on Human Rights

UK Government's policy on the use of drones for targeted killing inquiry

Inquiry status: open

Accepting written submissions; the deadline is Friday 13 November 2015.

Scope of the inquiry

The Government has not published any formulated policy on the use of drones for targeted killing.  As a result there is a lack of clarity about the policy; about whether and how the legal frameworks of international humanitarian law, international human rights law and ordinary criminal law apply; and about the relevant legal tests and principles that apply to the use of lethal force in such circumstances. 

It is not clear how the relevant decision-makers test the sufficiency of evidence, who checks that the tests are satisfied, and what the framework of accountability is.  The uncertainty not only makes accountability difficult, it potentially exposes front line personnel to criminal liability for the unlawful use of lethal force.

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