Suit to al­lege un­law­ful drone at­tacks

The Washington Times Daily - - World -

LONDON | A Bri­tish law firm said Sun­day it would sue For­eign Sec­re­tary Wil­liam Hague on be­half of a Pak­istani man over claims that Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence was used to as­sist U.S. drone at­tacks.

London-based Leigh Day and Co. con­firmed they would start for­mal pro­ceed­ings at Bri­tain’s High Court on be­half of Noor Khan, who says his fa­ther, Ma­lik Daud, was killed by a U.S. strike in Pak­istan.

Drone at­tacks have be­come a key fea­ture of Pres­i­dent Obama’s fight against ter­ror­ism in Pak­istan, but many in­hab­i­tants are an­gry at the raids’ civil­ian ca­su­al­ties.

Sun­day’s an­nounce­ment co­in­cided with an­other round of civil­ian deaths in the re­gion. Ac­cord­ing to U.S. au­thor­i­ties, an Amer­i­can sol­dier went on an un­pro­voked ram­page in an Afghan vil­lage and killed 16 peo­ple as they slept, mostly women and chil­dren.

Lawyers will claim that civil­ian in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers who pass on in­tel­li­gence to the U.S. are not “law­ful com­bat­ants,” the law firm said, ex­plain­ing that if they are not, the of­fi­cers can­not claim a sol­dier’s im­mu­nity from crim­i­nal law and could be held li­able as “sec­ondary par­ties to mur­der.”

The lawyers also will ar­gue that the im­mu­nity clause does not ap­ply as Pak­istan is not cur­rently in­volved in an “in­ter­na­tional armed con­flict.”

“There is cred­i­ble, un­chal­lenged ev­i­dence that [Mr. Hague] is op­er­at­ing a pol­icy of pass­ing in­tel­li­gence to of­fi­cials or agents of the U.S. gov­ern­ment and that he con­sid­ers such a pol­icy to be in ‘strict ac­cor­dance’ with the law,” Richard Stein, head of hu­man rights at Leigh Day, said in a state­ment.

“If this is the case, the sec­re­tary of state has mis­un­der­stood one or more of the prin­ci­ples of in­ter­na­tional law gov­ern­ing im­mu­nity for those in­volved in armed at­tacks on be­half of a state,” Mr. Stein said.

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