How long before arrest warrants are issued by politically motivated judges in Europe for high level U.S. politicians and military officials because drone strikes in Pakistan kill civilians?
Don’t think it could happen? How about this story from Britain, Israel fury over British war crimes warrant for Tzipi Livni:
Israel’s Government issued an angry warning today that its ties with Britain were in jeopardy over a UK arrest warrant briefly issued against the Jewish state’s Opposition leader and former Foreign Minister.
It has emerged that a London court issued a warrant at the weekend, for alleged war crimes committed in last winter’s Gaza offensive, and then rescinded it when it became clear that Tzipi Livni was not on British soil…
The warrant was just the latest attempt by pro-Palestinian groups to use British courts to seek the arrest of Israeli leaders whom they accuse of war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In October, Moshe Yaalon, the deputy Prime Minister, was forced to cancel a fundraising trip to London after lawyers warned he could be arrested in connection with a deadly attack he authorised as chief of staff. It killed a wanted Hamas militant chief, his wife and nine children in the Gaza Strip in 2002.
That incident came shortly after activists tried and failed to obtain a British warrant against Ehud Barak, the Defence Minister during the Gaza war who has retained his post under new the right-wing government.
The outsourcing of legal proceedings to European countries by the coalition of left-wing and Islamist groups will not stop with Israeli officials. As I have noted before, American officials have been targeted in Spanish courts.
The drone strikes, particularly the strike several months ago on a Taliban funeral, will raise similar calls for court action again Obama administration officials. The seeds already are out there, as in this post by a blogger at HuffPo who finds no justification for drone strikes in the cities where al–Qaeda and the Taliban operate:
Imagine targeting a person or group with a drone-borne, 500-lbs., roughly 125,600-square-foot-effective-kill-area [pi x (effective kill radius of 200 ft., squared)] bomb in San Francisco’s Union Square, and you get some idea of the civilian death and injury we’re talking about. (Actually, this kill area is larger than Union Square…)
And if you think that the U.S. would never use a drone to drop that kind of weapon on a mass of noncombatants that might also contain Taliban heavies, you’d be wrong.
And the U.N. already is on the case:
US drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan could be breaking international laws against summary executions, the UN’s top investigator of such crimes said.
“The problem with the United States is that it is making an increased use of drones/Predators (which are) particularly prominently used now in relation to Pakistan and Afghanistan,” UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston told a press conference.
“My concern is that drones/Predators are being operated in a framework which may well violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” he said.
The likelihood of an arrest warrant in the near term for an Obama administration official is small, given the popularity of Obama with the European left. But as the Afghan surge heats up, and attacks from drones increase, expect the situation to change.
Update: Soccer Dad points to this interesting analysis of how the anti-Israel NGOs and UN agencies routinely exaggerate civilian losses for the purpose of asserting war crimes which can then be used to seek arrest warrants. This is reminiscent of the Paliwood fauxtography routinely used for propaganda purposes.
The American Left Outsources The Spanish Inquisition
Did Obama Just Commit A War Crime?