UK judges block action over US drone attacks in Pakistan

Petitioner claimed that UK government could be committing war crimes by helping the CIA.


Afp December 21, 2012

LONDON: Judges on Friday blocked a legal action brought by a Pakistani man against Britain over allegations that British intelligence has been used in US drone attacks on Pakistan.

Lawyers for Noor Khan, 27, who lives in Pakistan, launched the action at the High Court in London in March after the death of his father Malik Daud Khan last year in a drone strike in North Waziristan.

They sought to challenge the lawfulness of the help Britain's intelligence gathering agency GCHQ reportedly provides to the CIA, such as information targeting militants, which is then used in deadly drone strikes.

However, lawyers for British Foreign Secretary William Hague had urged the court to block the legal proceedings, saying the case was unarguable.

They said it raised issues relating to sovereign foreign states that cannot be determined by English courts, adding that any ruling would have a "significant" impact on British relations with the United States and Pakistan.

Lord Justice Alan Moses refused Khan premission to bring the legal challenge at the High Court on Friday.

"The real aim is to persuade this court to make a public pronouncement designed to condemn the activities of the United States in North Waziristan, as a step in persuading them to halt such activity," he said.

The judge said lawyer Martin Chamberlain, who represented Khan in court, "knows he could not obtain permission overtly for such a purpose".

He added: "His stimulating arguments have been an attempt to shroud that purpose in a more acceptable veil."

The covert US attacks are unpopular in Pakistan, where the government criticises them as a violation of sovereignty, but US officials believe they are a vital weapon against militants.

According to a September 2012 US study, US drone strikes in Pakistan have killed far more civilians than the US has acknowledged, traumatised innocent tribesmen.

The study by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law called for re-evaluation of the strategy, saying the number of “high-level” targets killed as a percentage of total casualties was extremely low – about 2%, according to CNN.

COMMENTS (10)

Michael | 9 years ago | Reply

Judges should not be allowed to do this. Anyone has the right to bring their grievances to the attention of the court, to deny this is to admit guilt and prohibit human rights.

Logic. Europe m | 9 years ago | Reply

Mischief is recognised by the court If jews are so powerfull then why not turn jewish?? People who live on charity from the west shouldnot throw tantrums

VIEW MORE COMMENTS
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read