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2014 | European Parliament Resolution on the Use of Armed Drones 2014/2567(RSP)

On 27 February 2014, the European Parliament adopted resolution 2014/2567(RSP) on the use of armed drones. In this resolution, the European Parliament expresses its serious concerns over the practice of unlawful, extrajudicial targeted killings (the text reads literally “…grave concern over the use of armed drones outside the international legal framework”) and accordingly underscores the need to fulfill relevant international law obligations when stressing that international human rights law prohibits arbitrary killings in any situation and international humanitarian law does not permit the targeted killing of persons who are located in non-belligerent states. Against this backdrop, the European Union (EU) is urged to develop an appropriate policy response at both European and global level in consistency with human rights and international humanitarian law.

While recognizing that drone strikes “outside declared conflict zones” have caused civilian harm, the resolution reiterates states’ obligation to conduct prompt, independent investigations and, if the allegations of civilian deaths are proved correct, to proceed to public attribution of responsibility, punishment of those responsible and provision of access to redress, including payment of compensation to victims’ families. The European Union (EU) is called upon to stimulate countries conducting drones bombings, to be transparent about the legal basis for their drone attacks, to hold accountable those involved in unlawful drone bombings, to allow for judicial review of drone strikes and to ensure that victims of extrajudicial targeted killings have effective access to remedies.

Determining the way forward, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, EU Member States and the European Council are called upon to oppose and ban extrajudicial targeted killings. In addition they should ensure that states, in compliance with their legal obligations, do not perpetrate unlawful targeted killings or facilitate such killings by other states and take measures where there are “reasonable grounds for believing that an individual or entity . . . may be connected to an unlawful targeted killing abroad.”