U.N. investigator decries U.S. use of killer drones
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA | Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:13am EDT

(Reuters) – A U.N. investigator has called on the Obama administration to justify its policy of assassinating rather than capturing al Qaeda or Taliban suspects, increasingly with the use of unmanned drone aircraft that also take civilian lives.

Christof Heyns, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, urged Washington to clarify the basis under international law of the policy, in a report issued overnight to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The 47-member Geneva forum is to hold a debate later on Tuesday.

The U.S. military has conducted drone attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, in addition to conventional raids and air strikes, according to Heyns, a South African jurist serving in the independent post.

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