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2014 | The Bare Minimum! Access to an Effective Remedy and Reparations for Civilian Victims of Armed Drone Strikes, by Q. Eijkman & M. Bakker, Security and Human Rights, Vol. 25 (4) 2014

The international community should ensure that the civilian victims of unlawful drone strikes have access to an effective remedy on an international, transnational or national level. That is a major finding of this article that focuses on the challenges for victims of drone strikes seeking justice.

Even though under international law the civilian victims of armed drone strikes that occurred in breach of international law have a right to an effective remedy, including the right to reparation, the effectuation of this right has been impaired in a series of lawsuits across the world. The secrecy surrounding armed drone strikes, the uncertainty about the legal frameworks guiding such strikes  and the absence of proper investigations into the alleged unlawful harm resulting thereof hinder both accountability and victims pursuing justice. Indeed, progress has been made at the international level by states that are increasingly pushing for accountability and transparency. Moving forward, the international community should give top priority to access to justice for victims of unlawful drone attacks and set up a framework that guarantees transparency, accountability and justice.

Finally, the authors briefly highlight that the future use of armed drones equipped with the artificial intelligence to assess who and when to target, carries the risk of undermining justice for the victims since it becomes less clear which entity can be held accountable for the decision to drop the bomb.