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Complaint filed at International Criminal Court over NATO allies’ complicity in US drone strikes

Drone victim lawyers file complaint with International Criminal Court

International Criminal Court

19 February 2014

Leigh Day acting on behalf of victims of drones, working with human rights charities Reprieve and the Foundation of Fundamental Rights, is today filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing NATO member states of war crimes over their role in facilitating a United States covert drone programme in Pakistan.

The International Criminal Court (ICC), governed by the Rome Statute, is a permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

In documents provided to the court today, it is alleged that the UK, Germany, Australia, and other NATO partners support US drone strikes through intelligence sharing.

As signatories to the Rome Statute, they fall under The ICC’s jurisdiction and can therefore be investigated for war crimes.

Kareem Khan - whose civilian brother and son were killed in a 2009 drone strike – and Noor Behram - a journalist from North Waziristan - are at The Hague with lawyers from the human rights charity Reprieve and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights who have filed the complaint on their behalf.

It is believed that the US has launched more than 300 missiles at North Waziristan since its covert drone programme began and it is estimated that between 2004 and 2013, thousands of people have been killed, many of them civilians including children.

Rosa Curling from the human rights team at Leigh Day, said:

“Between 2004 and 2013, drone strikes in Pakistan have killed an estimated 2,537 - 3,646 people and injured 1,128 - 1,557 civilians. Many of those killed were children. The drone strikes are being carried out by the United States, with the assistance of their allies including the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia. They are part of a covert war which lacks both transparency and accountability. The strikes raise very serious issues of potential liability under International Criminal Law and it is for this reason, our clients are today calling on the Prosecutor to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute those involved.”

Kat Craig, Reprieve’s legal director, said:
“There can surely be no doubt that facilitating the deaths of thousands of civilians – as NATO allies are doing in a plethora of ways - constitutes war crimes. The International Criminal Court, established specifically to hold overwhelming state power to account, is in a unique position to offer some semblance of justice to individual drone victims with nowhere else to go. They must take this complaint seriously and investigate.”

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