Creating Accountability? Recent Developments in the US's Policy on Drones

28-03-2013

In recent weeks, the debate on the US use of drones in its counter-terrorism operations has intensified. The confirmation of John O. Brennan as the director of CIA — and the much-reported filibuster that interrupted his hearing and focused attention on the issue of drones — has led to a push for political and legal accountability. A recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals has supported the endeavour, and the US administration has invited the Congress to develop a legal framework for drone strikes. In parallel, the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson, has investigated the issue, consulting stakeholders and undertaking study trips, most recently to Pakistan. These combined efforts may lead to a deeper global debate about new, rapidly developing arms, tactics and technologies. The EU should engage more actively in the discussion, which bears direct implications for the Union's security as well as its stance on issues of human rights. The EU can help forge a global consensus about this form of modern warfare, responding to — but also anticipating — its risks and challenges.

In recent weeks, the debate on the US use of drones in its counter-terrorism operations has intensified. The confirmation of John O. Brennan as the director of CIA — and the much-reported filibuster that interrupted his hearing and focused attention on the issue of drones — has led to a push for political and legal accountability. A recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals has supported the endeavour, and the US administration has invited the Congress to develop a legal framework for drone strikes. In parallel, the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson, has investigated the issue, consulting stakeholders and undertaking study trips, most recently to Pakistan. These combined efforts may lead to a deeper global debate about new, rapidly developing arms, tactics and technologies. The EU should engage more actively in the discussion, which bears direct implications for the Union's security as well as its stance on issues of human rights. The EU can help forge a global consensus about this form of modern warfare, responding to — but also anticipating — its risks and challenges.