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Drone strikes: states must ‘scrupulously respect’ limits laid down in international law

Council of Europe member states should “scrupulously respect” the limits placed on targeted killings under international law when carrying out drone strikes, PACE’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has said.

In a draft resolution approved today, based on a report by Arcadio Diaz Tejera (Spain, SOC), the committee said states should lay down clear procedures for authorising drone strikes – including constant supervision by a high-level court and post-strike evaluation by an independent body.

They should publish the criteria and procedures used for targeting individuals, as well as the results of investigations carried out into deaths caused by drones.

Finally they should avoid automated procedures for targeting individuals based on communication patterns or other data collected through mass surveillance techniques.

The committee also calls on Council of Europe governments to undertake a thorough study of the lawfulness of combat drones for targeted killings, and develop guidelines that are in line with international humanitarian and human rights law, including the European Convention on Human Rights.