‘Use of drones subject to long standing rules of intl law’

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon believes that the use of armed drones needs to be subject to the long-standing rules of international law.

Updated: Mar 16, 2013, 10:25 AM IST

Washington: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon believes that the use of armed drones needs to be subject to the long-standing rules of international law and feels there is need of greater confidence in the international community in this regard.

"He (Ban) says that like any other weapon, the use of armed UAVs (unarmed aerial vehicles) is subject to long-standing rules of international law, including international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict," Eduardo del Buey, the Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General said on Saturday.

"He also believes that there is a need for greater confidence in the international community that the use of these weapons is within the bounds of international law," Buey told reporters while replying to a question that use of drones is in violation of sovereignty of Pakistan.

In a statement issued in Islamabad, following his three-day visit, Emmerson said that as a matter of international law the US drone campaign in Pakistan is being conducted without the consent of the elected representatives of the people, or the legitimate Government of the State.

"It involves the use of force on the territory of another State without its consent and is therefore a violation of Pakistan`s sovereignty," he said.

"Pakistan has also been quite clear that it considers the drone campaign to be counter-productive and to be radicalising a whole new generation, and thereby perpetuating the problem of terrorism in the region," he added.

The Obama Administration refused to comment on the "sovereignty" question, and said it is withholding its judgment on the UN report on drone attacks inside Pakistan.

"I can tell you that our administration is aware of the report" but "at this point, I don`t have a comment on either intelligence operations or military operations," the White House Deputy Press Secretary, Josh Earnest told reporters when asked about the UN report and the comment made by its official in Islamabad earlier in the day.

"As you know, this administration is in regular and close contact with Pakistan. We have a solid working relationship with them on a range of issues including a close cooperative security relationship," he said.

"At this point, we`re going to withhold judgment on the actual report...But we`re in touch with Mr (Ben) Emerson (UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights) and if there are requests of the administration for information, we will carefully consider those requests," Earnest said.
However, he refused to answer the sovereignty question, so did the State Department spokesperson at her daily news conference.
"We`ve seen his (Emerson) press release. I`m obviously not going to speak about classified information here. What I would say is that we have a strong ongoing counter-terrorism dialogue with Pakistan, and that will continue," the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland told reporters.