Rights Watch (UK) comments on the legal basis for the extrajudicial killing of British citizens in Syria


The British Government must provide a full legal justification for the extra judicial execution of two British citizens in a drone strike in Syria. In 2013 the UK Parliament voted against taking military action in Syria, yet today Mr David Cameron revealed that the UK Government killed two British citizens in Syria and is refusing to publish its full legal justification for doing so. Rights Watch (UK) demands that the UK Government provide a full justification immediately.

Yasmine Ahmed, Director of Rights Watch (UK), states:

“The fact that the Secretary of State can find a Government lawyer to sign off on this does not make what has been done lawful and certainly does not make it an appropriate use of executive power. Rights Watch (UK) demands that the UK Government immediately disclose its full legal justification for these strikes. Without a clear legal justification for this action these drone strikes amount to war by stealth, and the British public will never know whether what is being done in its name is lawful.

These strikes set a dangerous precedent for UK Government activity. The UK Government can now kill at will with no oversight. If the only oversight of these actions is confidential internal Government legal advice that is no oversight at all. It is imperative that the UK Government acts with transparency. We must learn from past, and remember the importance of upholding the rule of law whenever we act in the name of national security. The last time we did not probe Government legal advice we went to war in Iraq.”


For more information on this release contact Yasmine Ahmed (Director) on (+44) 0208 004 0941 or email yahmed@rwuk.org

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